President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, I would like to welcome you once again at this expanded meeting.
I want to congratulate once again those of our colleagues who have been decorated with the Order of Friendship for their efforts to promote large investment projects.
First of all, I would like to say that I am sorry for taking so long, because we have just completed talks with the French delegation and President [Emmanuel] Macron. As an explanation for being late, I can say that my colleagues and I, as we say jokingly, do not have anything concrete to do, which is why we love to talk and dream, and that takes a long time. Unlike us, you have concrete responsibilities for concrete work that is worth millions, hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars.
I know that many things have changed since our meeting last year, and they have changed for the better. Our cooperation is improving and moving forward, which is good news.
I know that you continue working actively with our sovereign fund, the Russian Direct Investment Fund. I would like to say in this connection that the returns on investment you make together with the RDIF are higher than the world’s average.
The projects you are implementing are highly reliable. We are trying to provide government assistance to these projects, doing everything in our power to guarantee their reliability and effectiveness.
I hope we will continue to work in the same manner to further expand our interaction.
I give the floor to [RDIF CEO Kirill] Dmitriev now. After he concludes his opening remarks, we will exchange views on the current state of affairs and our plans for the future.
Russian Direct Investment Fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev: Mr President, colleagues,
Mr President, I would like to thank you on behalf of all investors present here for these regular meetings and for your support for the Russian Direct Investment Fund. These meetings are very productive, because investors can use them to learn about Russia’s economic development priorities and to choose the most promising investment areas. Also, investors can exchange views and experience of their countries’ breakthrough development. This is especially important now, when Russia is focused on breakthrough development in infrastructure and technology.
The RDIF and its partners have invested 1.2 trillion rubles in over 50 projects in Russia, with 90 percent of the amount provided by our partners. The fund and its partners, who are present here, plan to invest another 1.5 trillion rubles within two years.
We have attracted over $40 billion to joint funds, with $4 billion investment via the automatic co-investment mechanism. As Mr President has said, returns on our investment are higher than those of other funds and indices. In particular, the partners who are attending this meeting provide 90 percent of all direct investment in Russia. The revenues of our portfolio companies are worth more than 5 percent of Russia’s GDP.
Today we have announced 12 investment deals for various sectors. These include the company Deliver, which offers efficient cargo transportation services for small and medium-sized companies, and a project to create robotic surgical systems, which will reduce the cost of surgery many times. We will work with TH Milk to invest $600 million in Russia’s dairy sector. There are also six investment deals, which have been concluded with our French partners who met with President Putin today. These plans also include oncology treatment centres. Two of them have been built in the Moscow Region, and there will be 50 of them altogether across Russia. Today we started working with the Central Bank to form a fund for holding the non-core assets of lending institutions, in which you can also invest.
We worked with you to invest in the development of infrastructure, such as the Central Ring Road, the Odintsovo Bypass, and a project to build a Northern bypass to Kutuzovsky Avenue. We have estimated Russia’s current infrastructure investment requirements at 2 trillion rubles a year. Today we will discuss increasing Russia’s sovereign debt to invest more in infrastructure. We are working closely with the Finance Ministry in this respect.
In conclusion, I would like to say that investment in technology is extremely important. We have created a network of seven partners, which allows us to choose the best technology projects in Russia and implement them in all countries. Last year, 58 percent of total investment in technology projects in Russia went through RDIF and our partners. We believe that a technology and infrastructure breakthrough is possible if we work together with the investors who are attending this meeting. We propose discussing the possibility of boosting investment by increasing debt so as to invest more in infrastructure and technology.