President Vladimir Putin: I am very happy to see you, Mr Chairman. Your company has been working in Russia since the 1920s. Not to mention the company’s capitalisation, I would just like to say that it is one of our oldest partners and I think your activities have been expanding in Russia over recent years.
To be honest, this makes me happy because one of our main aims today is to diversify the Russian economy and develop high-technology sectors. This is precisely what your company is involved in and so I am very pleased to see you in Moscow.
Jeffrey Immelt: Thank you, Mr President. It is a great pleasure to meet with you today. We have been working in Russia for a long time, as you said, since the 1920s. We are optimistic about the changes you are making to the country and we think that today is a good time to invest in Russia.
We are a diverse company and we work in many different areas. Today we have good opportunities to develop banking activities, consumer credits, the energy sector, the transport sector, the health industry and other areas.
Two areas that I think can offer great possibilities to Russia are railways and the energy sector.
Vladimir Putin: That is exact. These are two major sectors in which we could work more actively. I think that President Bush and I have done a lot over the last years to strengthen Russian-U.S. relations, and I would like to transpose our level of political cooperation to the economy. With a company like yours, of course, we are in a position to do this. We have an active dialogue going on in the energy sector, one that covers many areas and aspects.
I am pleased that we have the chance to talk about the energy issue not just in terms of our work together in energy resource extraction, but that we also have the possibility to discuss other aspects of this issue.
Jeffrey Immelt: Going by what you said about diversifying your activities in the energy sector, I know that the transport area is very important for you. We plan to purchase the technology and introduce modern management methods and invest in our partnership with the Russian company we work with. We view this as a concrete partnership that will enable us to supply not just the local markets but will also give us the opportunity to work for the export market. We are ready to invest up to $100 million to expand our business.
Vladimir Putin: What profit did you receive from your activities in Russia last year?
Jeffrey Immelt: Our turnover in Russia last year was equivalent to approximately $700 million, and we had profits in this case of the order of $50 million — $100 million. We invested around $100 million in consumer credits – we think this is a growth sector – and most of our other projects are in the energy, medical technology and oil and gas sectors. Another sector we consider very promising is energy, in particular generating equipment and the supply of modern, high technology stations. We are looking at the possibility of investing around $100 million in developing our local Russian partner.