Vladimir Dmitriev: “Creation of such production facilities guarantees food security and food independence for Russians”.
HOST: My colleague Sergei Batischev is going to tell us about import substitution with domestic products, he is now on the direct communications link from the Yaroslavl region. Good afternoon Sergei, we‘re listening to you.
CORR.: Hullo Olga. In fact, the decisions taken by the Russian Government won’t make it possible to keep Russian citizens on a starvation diet. We are now at one of the largest milk production complexes in Europe. It was built here from scratch in the open field for a period of 4 yearspartially with the money provided partially by Vnesheconombank.And Vnesheconombank Chairman Vladimir Dmitriev is now with us on the direct communications link. Good afternoon Vladimir Alexandrovich.
Vladimir DMITRIEV, Vnesheconombank Chairman: Good afternoon.
CORR.: Vladimir Alexandrovich, would you tell us about what has been built here with the money provided by your Bank?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: Now we are at the first milk production complex. In total, we have funded two such complexes, with their total value being about 6 billion rubles. Two more complexes were laid down. All in all, there will be 8 complexes. Besides milk production facilities, there will be a feed-processing plant and a milk-processing factory. We are happy that here milk production per cow indicators are in line with the world’s standards – here an average daily milk production per cow is about 32 liters and some top-performing cows produce more than 60 liters per day. Basically, it is a unique milk production facility. The director of this complex said that in 2008, when they started to build the complex there was an old farm with 120 cows and the daily milk production per cow were at most 6-7 liters. It is important that this is a vertically integrated production facility. There are many complexes of this kind across the country including those funded by Vnesheconombank. So,creation of such production facilities guarantees food security and food independence for Russians”.
CORR.: Vladimir Alexandrovichlet’s talk about financial security because this security is very important especially for those who invest in such complexes. To what extent is it easy to invest in such complexes in Russia using among other things Vnesheconombank’s funds?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: This task remains as difficult now as it was in the past. First, the task is above all is to analyze a project’s economics and develop a sustainable financial model together with the project’s initiators. Second, an important task is that such projects require long-term money and favorable terms and conditions so that a product’s value at the time of production could compete with that of a similar product imported from abroad. There is no doubt that in the current situation, when Western countries have imposed embargo on long-term lending to key Russian banks with state participation we have to raise domestic loan facilities. And in this respect, we are working with the Government,the Finance Ministry, the Economic Development Ministry and with the Central Bank, they can understand our problems and are ready to provide us and other banks with state participation with long-term ruble facilities.
CORR.: Have any decisions been made in this respect?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: It’s important for us that a decision has been made to additionally capitalize Vnesheconombank. We hope that basic technical tasks will be addressed in the near future. This will enable us to ensure further sustainable development and maintain required capital adequacy ratio. Now we are also discussing with the Government other measures of the state’s support.So, we don’t have to worry about Vnesheconombank’s finances and its readiness to fund this kind of projects as well as about the stability of the financial system as a whole. Although there is a certain tension, we’ll be able to defuse it.
CORR.: Vladimir Alexandrovich, Could you be more specific about an additional capitalization because the question was raised last autumn and there were plans to use monetary resources of the National Wealth Fund. Was a decision made to go ahead in this way?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: Yes, it was. They enacted appropriate amendments to the law. Certain decisions are to be made now by the Government. We hope that in autumn deposits of the National Wealth Fund will be converted into tier 2 capital.
CORR.: Very well. Thank you very much Vladimir Alexandrovich.
Vnesheconombank Chairman V.A. Dmitriev’s Interview to the TV Channel Russia 24
Host Marat Kashin
HOST: Vnesheconombank Chairman Vladimir Dmitriev is convinced that in order to transfer to full-scale payments in national currencies they should be stable. In his interview to our channel, he also voiced the Bank’s position on Mechel and Inter RAO.
-If anything, the main events at the Forum and here at the BRICS Summit are to create a New Bank for Development and a pool of reserve currencies. Do you believe that this will change in general the balance of forces in the world’s financial arena?
Vladimir DMITRIEV, Chairman of State Corporation ‘Bank for Development and Foreign Economics Affairs (Vnesheconombank)’: If we mean the Bank I think it would be wrong to talk about the global change in the balance of forces in the world’s arena because our Bank is designed to address localbut at the same time large-scale objectives. The Bank was assigned to fund infrastructure as its priority. The needs for infrastructure are overwhelming. According to the World Bank, developing countries will need 15 trillion dollars to fund infrastructure until 2030. So, an idea to create a bank for development was put on the agenda of the BRICS Summit several years ago and the bank is designed to fund infrastructure.
It’s a good thing that the banks have agreed upon volumes and technical issues related to a location of headquarters as well as upon a composition of the Board of Directors. In my opinion, there is every reason to believe thatexecutives of finance ministries responsible for creating this bank would favor a proposal made by BRICS countries national development banks to form key personnel of a New Bank through engaging employees from BRICS countries banks for development. The New Bank is also to be provided with technical equipment and its employees are to undergo training courses in national development banks. These are rational proposals and I think they will be backed.
Who is going to be responsible for making decisions on extending credits and their terms and conditions?
Vladimir DMITRIEV:Decisions are to be made by a Board of Governors and a Board of Directors. The bank is to adopt the world’s best practices, which are common in such international financing development institutions as the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the Asian Development Bank. Therefore, corporate governance bodies will make relevant decisions based on the best practices.
The most important thing is that the countries have agreed upon volumes of funds, which each of them is to contribute to charter capital on a parity basis. Stated capital is to amount to 100 billion dollars to be paid in tranches of 50 billion dollars.
At least, this fund would provide support for both national currencies and national budgets. There is no doubt that transactions to be conducted within the fund would to a certain extent help national currencies to become settlement currencies in trade and investments of BRICS member countries.
-Nevertheless, as far as the idea of creating a new bank is concerned, a number of experts say that it is necessary to stop using the dollar and try to make payments in national currencies. But contributions to the bank’s capital are made in dollars.
Vladimir DMITRIEV: We have to do a lot in order to transfer to full-scale payments in national currencies. First, currencies should be stable. Second, we have to develop a scheme for swapping national currencies. But there are enough examples that national currencies are already used in mutual trade and in international payments. We have to recall China’s recent initiative on creating a major Asian bankto use yuan as a settlement currency at least in investments.
As far as our relations with China are concerned, the ruble and the yuanare already used in making payments inthe cross-border trade. The yuan is trading on the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange. So, we are making a steady headway. It goes without saying that we have to overcome a lot technical, systemic difficulties to stop using the dollar.
-There is another important question. Experts say that the International Monetary extends credits on rather hard terms. In the sense that it requires countries to make changes in their economies. Will the two new financial institutions require BRICS countries to do the similar thing? Do you think that it should be done?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: I don‘t think a BRICS Bank for Development will deal with such issues. Credits extended to fund infrastructure, support private business as well as support the banking system above all medium-sized banks are not granted on such tough terms as is the case in the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. On the contrary, these credits are designed to support private business, developing private enterprise and freeing private initiative. In this case,I’m talking about Russia because I know how it happens. As far as the new bank is concerned I have no grounds to believe that it will be involved in supporting macroeconomic stability in these countries although by supporting infrastructure we create conditions for macroeconomic stability. But high priority is to be given to funding infrastructure because it is our common goal. This goal will be to overcome economic growth restrictions as well as create new jobs and develop industrial sector. This is a common interest of all BRICS countries. In addressing infrastructure objectives on the basis of mutual interest nobody is going to set tough terms.
-The need for investments in infrastructure is great in all BRICS countries. How are they going to prioritize and select projects upon considering applications?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: I wouldn’t like to assume the role of oracle who knows answers to all questions related to this bank’s activity. I think that even the bank’s founders – finance ministries do not have a clear idea of how various decisions will be made and what objectives in a country plan will be given top priority.
These objectives will be addressed in the course of creating a new bank itself. We should above all create a bank, employ personnel, provide it with equipment, we should also adopt appropriate corporate procedures,regulations. This is sure to take some time. But we should immediately start to analyze projects that could be funded jointly and make final decisions on the basis of common interests and priorities of various countries. These decisions will require a lot of time, certain efforts and expertiseThese countries’ territories and population account for a significant part of the global world. In my opinion, this bank won’t come up against big problems because leaders of our countries made strenuous efforts to make a decision on creating this bank.
Do you think that the creation of this Bank and a pool of conventional reserve currencies would somehow prompt to carry out a reform of the International Monetary Fund, which ground to a haltbecause of the US Congress decision to impose a veto.
Vladimir DMITRIEV:If there was no veto, we could expect certain changes. But as it is in place we have to adapt to the current situation. But the creation of this pool of reserve currencies would prompt to reconsider the realities we used to live in beforeand think over the need to create a more flexible system based not on one or two currencies but on the interests of global players.
-I have another several questions, which are a lot closer to the situation in Russia. There is much talking now aboutMechel. And the latest news is that the company was able to arrange for a rollover of credits with VTB Bank for an amount of almost 15 billion rubles. Are you ready to consider possible options or compromise in this situation?
Vladimir DMITRIEV:After I made a public statement,it was followed by the industry minister’s statement relating to Mechel’s future and the need to decide it in a different format rather than giving it a hand without thinking about consequences for Vnesheconombank, Mechel’s officials started to talk about a potential debt restructuring and a sale of non-core assets. Somehow, they started to think in a different way. In fact, I like this approach. Our position remains unchanged. This is not only my position, Our Board formed a consolidated opinion and I voiced it. We haven’t considered any other options. They are moving in a different direction now – commercial banks seem to be ready to discuss potential ways of debt restructuring with Mechel. We, of course welcome such steps.
-Are you going to discuss this situation at the next meeting of your Supervisory Board?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: It isn’t on the agenda.
-There is another Russian story. VEB calls Inter RAO to exercise redemption option for bonds. If my memory serves me right, the price is about 31 billion rubles. The market price now is about five billion. They say in Inter RAO that they don’t have money. What are you going to do?
Vladimir DMITRIEV:I think that legal wrangling with Inter RAO is the worst thing to do. But in the current situation we have no right to write off debts as a loss because the option provided for quite a definite price which differs significantly from the current market price.I’d like to remind you that we entered into Inter RAO’s capital only in order not to increase Inter RAO’s debt burden but to enable it to build its core facilities, specifically, power plants. We are going to talk with Inter Rao. So far we have made our first steps towards exercising our right. But if the situation develops in a different way rather than it was stipulated in our agreement, we are ready to compromise. But I’d like to stress it once more that we won’t accept any price that is different from the one specified in the option agreement.
-Some experts believe that VEB calls Inter RAO to exercise redemption option because it is pressed for available funds.
Vladimir DMITRIEV: You mean VEB?
-Yes, I do.
Vladimir DMITRIEV: The reason was quite different. We were guided by our right and the fact that the option had expired. I can assure you that we do not need money desperately and unconditionally to take such tough and unfriendly measuresagainst our partner Inter RAO. We have our representatives in Inter RAO’s Board of Directors, so we value our relations and we are not going to press then using all possible means to exercise our right. In fact, it’s a commercial dispute and we are going to settle it as it is standard in a civilized world.
-And now my last question. I can’t help asking you about VEB’s additional capitalization. A decision was made. The State Duma passed a draft law in the third reading. Have you received enough money?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: We have received enough money to ensure sustainable financial development and sustainable financial position. I mean above all capital adequacy ratio. This money is enough to form required reserves. Now we are in a difficult situation because with the liquidation of Olmpstroi, we are left on our own as we didn’t form reserves for Olympic credits relying on Olympstroi’s surety. And even if some corporate decisions are made rather than forming reserves both our auditors and our creditors that have Vnesheconombank’s bonds are well-informed about the current situation and will ask us questions we’ll have to answer in a proper way. We were capitalized with Tier 2 capital and now we have enough resources to form required reserves and ensure stability
We have a strategy and we are updating it now. The strategy provides for increased loan portfolio, increased volume of active transactions and a certain package of investment obligations. Given limited capabilities to raise funds on foreign markets to finance our operations, we should look for other alternative measures for providing government support. We do not mean now additional capitalization alone, we mean other measures of government support that would enable the Bank to carry out its mission of a Bank for Development and support Russian industrial exports without doing things we are not supposed to do.
-Thank you very much for your interview.
Vladimir DMITRIEV: Thank you.