Vnesheconombank Chairman Vladimir Dmitriev’s Interview to "DER TAGESSPIGEL"
Die Sanktionen des Westens treffen die Mittelschicht
30 nov. 2014
Seit Juli bekommen Russlands staatliche Banken auf dem westlichen Kapitalmarkt keine langfristigen Kredite mehr. Das "schadet erheblich", sagt Vladimir Dmitriev, Chef der Entwicklungsbank , und warnt: Der Westen strafe die Falschen und destabilisiere auch die ukrainischen Banken.
Sie sind in Deutschland, um Ihre deutschen Geschäftspartner zu treffen. Gibt es da noch viel zu besprechen?
Aber ja, ganz besonders in diesen schwierigen Zeiten. Manche haben sogar Angst, dass ihre russischen Unternehmen verstaatlicht werden. Aber das ist Unsinn, das werden wir ganz sicher nicht tun.
Vermutlich wollen aber viele jetzt schnell raus aus Russland, oder?
Nein, so ist das nicht. Die jetzige Lage schreckt Unternehmer ab, in Russland neue Geschäfte aufzubauen, das stimmt leider. Aber die Unternehmen, die etabliert sind, oft schon seit Jahrzehnten, die werden sich gewiss nicht zurückziehen, warum sollten sie? Volkswagen zum Bespiel hat im Bezirk Kaluga ebenso wie Volvo und andere westliche Konzerne eine Produktion und großes Interesse, das auszubauen. Schließlich treffen ihre Autos auf große Nachfrage.
Fürchten Sie nicht, diese könnte Ihre letzte Reise nach Deutschland sein, weil Sie auch auf die Liste der unerwünschten Personen gesetzt werden?
Ach wissen Sie, ich weiß noch, wie es im Kalten Krieg war. Ich bin auf alle Szenarien vorbereitet.
Die EU und die USA haben jedenfalls ihre Bank schon mit Sanktionen belegt. Darum dürfen Sie keine Kredite mehr auf dem westlichen Kapitalmarkt aufnehmen. Trifft Sie das?
Selbstverständlich, wir können fällig werdende Darlehen in Dollar und Euro nicht mehr verlängern. Aber wir sind eine staatliche Bank. Die Regierung und die Zentralbank werden die nötigen Devisen aus den Reserven bereitstellen. Bis Ende 2015 werden wir Auslandschulden von rund 1,4 Milliarden Dollar zurückzahlen, da müssen sich unsere Kreditgeber keine Sorgen machen.
Auch die deutsche Staatsbank KfW hat die Zusammenarbeit mit Ihrer Bank auf Eis gelegt. Hat das praktische Folgen?
Ja, das bedaure ich sehr. Die KfW war bisher ein sehr wichtiger Partner. Jetzt hat sie eines unserer wichtigsten Projekte eingefroren. Wir wollten gemeinsam mit der Europäischen Investitionsbank einen Fonds mit 720 Millionen Euro auflegen, um damit die Produktion von innovativen Technologien bei kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen zu finanzieren. Das zeigt, wie die Sanktionen die Falschen treffen. Sie sollen die russische Regierung bestrafen, aber sie treffen die normalen Leute. In diesen Unternehmen, die wir fördern wollten, da arbeiten genau die Mittelschichtbürger, die so wichtig sind für eine stabile Demokratie.
Welche Folgen haben die Sanktionen für Russlands Bankensystem insgesamt?
Sie schaden erheblich, das ist kein Geheimnis. Das Finanzministerium schätzt, dass unsere Wirtschaft dadurch 40 Milliarden Dollar im Jahr verliert. Die fünf staatlichen Banken, die sich jetzt nicht mehr im Ausland refinanzieren können, sind wichtige Kreditgeber für die russische Wirtschaft. Und leider kann unser eigener Kapitalmarkt die externe Finanzierung nicht ersetzen. Allerdings sind wir nicht die einzigen Verlierer. Nach dem Sanktionsbeschluss der EU sind die deutschen Exporte nach Russland um 26 Prozent gefallen. Das Sanktionsschwert hat eben zwei Schneiden und schadet letztlich allen. Das sehe ich wie Henry Kissinger, der kürzlich gewarnt hat, dass die Eskalation der Sanktionen der ganzen Weltwirtschaft schaden könnte.
Sie haben gemeinsam mit den anderen vier Staatsbanken beim Europäischen Gerichtshof Klage gegen die Sanktionen eingereicht. Glauben Sie wirklich, die Richter werden sich gegen die Regierungen stellen?
Ja, weil die genannten Gründe für die Sanktionen auf uns gar nicht zutreffen. Im Beschluss heißt es, es sollen Institutionen bestraft werden, die in den Konflikt in der Ukraine verwickelt sind. Aber weder wir noch die anderen Banken haben irgendetwas damit zu tun. Im Gegenteil, wir haben eine Tochterbank dort und wir unterstützen die ukrainische Wirtschaft.
Ihre Bank ist aber Teil des russischen Staates, dessen Regierung den Bürgerkrieg anheizt.
Einige iranische Institutionen, die in Luxemburg erfolgreich geklagt haben, sind auch staatlich, etwa die iranische Zentralbank. Aber weil es keinen Nachweis für deren Verwicklung in illegale Geschäfte gab, haben die EU-Richter die Sanktion gegen sie aufgehoben.
Präsident Putin sagte im deutschen Fernsehen, die Sanktionen würden letztlich auch die Ukraine treffen, weil ukrainische Banken 25 Milliarden Euro Schulden in Russland haben, die womöglich fällig gestellt werden müssen. Wird das so kommen?
Es gibt diesen Zusammenhang. Die Tochterbanken russischer Konzerne haben in der Ukraine einen großen Marktanteil und haben nun auch den Zugang zum westlichen Kapitalmarkt verloren. Den würden sie aber dringend brauchen. Die Lage in der Ukraine ist katastrophal. Das Bruttoinlandsprodukt ist um sieben Prozent gefallen, die Industrieproduktion sogar um 16 Prozent, vier Fünftel aller Kredite werden nicht pünktlich bedient. Darum benötigen alle Banken, und eben auch die in russischer Hand, neues Kapital. Wenn sie das nicht bekommen können, weil auch ihre Eigentümer nicht genug haben, gefährdet das das ganze ukrainische Bankensystem.
Vneshekonombank (VEB), der er seit 1997 angehört. Der
promovierte Ökonom war zuvor im Außen- und
Wie ist das bei Ihrer eigenen Bank in Kiew, der Prominvest?
Auch wir verlieren dort Geld. Trotzdem halten wir daran fest. Wir haben professionelle Beziehungen zur ukrainischen Zentralbank, deren Chefin versprochen hat, russische Banken genauso zu behandeln wie alle anderen.
Russland und die Ukraine liegen de facto im Krieg, aber Ihre Geschäfte laufen einfach weiter?
Die Industrie in beiden Ländern ist eng verbunden, vor allem im Maschinenbau und der Luft- und Raumfahrt. Das haben wir über Prominvest finanziert. Jetzt ist es viel schwieriger, aber wir bemühen uns. Mich persönlich schmerzt das alles sehr. Meine Frau ist Ukrainerin und wir haben jedes Jahr mit den Kindern Ferien in unserm Landhaus bei Charkiw gemacht. Aber jetzt trauen wir uns mehr dorthin, weil wir uns nicht sicher fühlen.
Werden die Sanktionen auch Russland in die Rezession stürzen?
Das größere Problem ist die schlechte Weltkonjunktur und der Fall des Ölpreises von 110 auf 80 Dollar pro Fass. Allein das kostet uns 100 Milliarden Dollar im Jahr. Die Sanktionen machen es nur schlimmer, vor allem weil die ausländischen Investitionen ausbleiben. Wir erwarten daher einen Rückgang des Wachstums auf 0,3 Prozent in diesem Jahr und vielleicht eine Stagnation im nächsten. Doch ich bin sicher, dass die Regierung alles tun wird, um eine Rezession zu verhindern, vor allem durch Investitionen in die Infrastruktur.
Wer soll das bezahlen?
Das Geld kommt aus dem Staatshaushalt und von der Zentralbank. Die hat sich bisher zurückgehalten, aber sie wird nun den Banken zusätzliches Geld bereitstellen, um solche Investitionen zu finanzieren.
Also eine Art „Quantitative Easing“, wie es auch die amerikanische Notenbank betrieben hat?
Das können Sie so nennen, aber bei uns wird es in die reale Wirtschaft fließen, nicht auf den Aktienmarkt.
Auch der Wert des Rubels ist um 40 Prozent abgestürzt. Wie erklären Sie sich das?
Der Rubelkurs folgt dem Ölpreis, das war schon immer so.
Liegt es nicht vor allem daran, dass die Reichen ihre Rubel verkaufen und ihre Vermögen ins Ausland schaffen? Seit März sind schon 128 Milliarden Dollar abgeflossen.
Das ist ganz normal. Unternehmen und Händler, die Importe bezahlen müssen, sichern sich ab und kaufen deshalb Dollar und andere Währungen, die sie bei ausländischen Banken deponieren.
Wenn die Kapitalflucht eskaliert, wird die Regierung dann Kapitalverkehrskontrollen verhängen?
Welche Kapitalflucht? Das sind übliche Zahlungsflüsse. Russland hat sich einem liberalen Finanzsystem verschrieben, und das wird auch so bleiben.
Müssen Sie nicht fürchten, dass die Ratingagenturen Russland und damit auch Ihre Bank herabstufen?
Ach, sollen sie doch! Diese Drohungen sind haltlos. Russland hat seit vielen Jahren einen Haushaltsüberschuss und große Reserven. Würden sie unsere Kreditwürdigkeit herabstufen, dann würden die Agenturen nur belegen, dass ihre Urteile keine wissenschaftliche Grundlage haben. Dann müssten wir ernsthaft Alternativen für das Rating finden, vielleicht zusammen mit China.
Russische Firmen haben 500 Milliarden Dollar Auslandschulden, davon stehen 130 Milliarden Dollar bis Ende 2015 zur Rückzahlung an. Werden Sie das noch bezahlen können, wenn Sie keine neuen Kredite bekommen?
Unsere Gold- und Währungsreserven liegen bei 400 Milliarden Dollar, also könnte man darauf zurückgreifen. Aber viele Unternehmen können auch ohne Staatshilfe ihre Kredite im Ausland bedienen, weil sie eigenes Auslandsvermögen haben oder Inlandsguthaben umtauschen können. Unsere westlichen Partner sollten sich allerdings im Klaren sein, dass die Kredite unter den Regeln offener Kapitalmärkte aufgenommen wurden. Wenn diese Regeln nun gebrochen werden, dann könnten Kreditnehmer auch höhere Gewalt reklamieren. Dazu sollten wir es nicht kommen lassen.
Bank Founded Under Lenin Hunts for Funding Amid Sanctions (Bloomberg)
Vnesheconombank is beating a retreat from debt markets after last year holding the biggest Eurobond sale by a Russian financial borrower since 2008.
Russia’s state development bank, which traces its roots to a lender formed in 1922 under Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin to raise capital and facilitate trade for the fledgling Bolshevik regime, is now turning to government funding, Asian investors and asset sales three months after European and U.S. penalties over Ukraine curtailed its access to foreign markets, Chairman Vladimir Dmitriev said.
“Times have changed, and access to previous sources of financing is practically closed for us,” Dmitriev, who’s headed the bank for a decade, said in an interview in Moscow. “Still we aren’t feeling like a downed pilot. Sanctions just pushed us to revise our credit and investment activity.”
The bank, which has lent $40 billion to back projects from Olympic construction to agriculture and the manufacture of airplanes, is pivoting toward state funding to cut its reliance on debt financing. VEB, as the bank is known, is cut off from some foreign capital markets after the U.S. and the European Union zeroed in on individuals and companies to punish Russia for the annexation of Crimea in March and President Vladimir Putin’s alleged support for the separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.Government Support
With the country walled off from foreign funding and sapped by capital outflows, state companies including Russian Agricultural Bank and oil producer OAO Rosneft are increasingly looking to the government to offset their shrinking funding base.
The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions that prohibit transactions in, provision of financing for, or other dealings in new debt of greater than 90 days’ maturity for a range of companies. For banks, the debt financing restriction covers maturities greater than 30 days. The EU later joined the U.S. in tightening sanctions, restricting five state-owned Russian lenders in their ability to sell bonds or shares within the bloc.
Life under sanctions is testing the flexibility of VEB, which was revamped by Putin in 2007 to promote investment and finance long-term infrastructure projects. During the following two years, it also managed the government’s bailout program at the height of the financial crisis, helping rescue troubled companies and banks and buying domestic securities to support financial markets.Mission Unchanged
Its mission to boost investment and diversify the Russian economy remains unchanged in the face of limited access to global capital markets, according to Dmitriev. That means the role of state funding, which was “secondary” in importance for VEB, will grow.
VEB’s supervisory board, headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, on Oct. 16 approved the bank’s strategy through 2020. It set targets including increasing VEB’s loan portfolio to at least 2.5 trillion rubles ($58.5 billion) from 1.7 trillion rubles, Dmitriev said. The bank will also channel 750 billion rubles to support exporters and issue as much as 265 billion rubles of loans to small businesses until 2020.
To support the plans, the government and the central bank are discussing measures to prop up the bank’s finances, according to Dmitriev. The supervisory board agreed on an annual capital boost of 30 billion rubles, which is possible in the form of a cash infusion or sovereign securities that can be used to get liquidity from the central bank, Dmitriev said, adding that he’s hopeful to get the first transfer by year-end.‘Comfortable’ Cushion
The government will also convert $5.9 billion from VEB deposits that hold cash from the National Wellbeing Fund into its subordinated deposits, bringing capital adequacy to a “comfortable” 14.9 percent, according to Dmitriev.
Other support measures include the central bank’s decision to raise its limit on VEB’s borrowing. The development lender will also get 310 billion rubles from the government next year to repay foreign debt and finance already approved projects.
It has to pay back as much as 70 billion rubles to international lenders next year, according to Dmitriev. VEB wants to avoid using state aid to pay down 107 billion rubles in domestic debt in 2015, he said.
Dmitriev says he’s hopeful that China will step in as an alternative source of funding if it eases access to its capital markets. Financing in offshore yuan is now limited to $300 million, which isn’t enough for VEB, he said. This month, the Russian lender agreed to borrow $2 billion from Export-Import Bank of China.
To ease the pressure on its balance sheet, VEB is also working to sell off assets such as the Novinsky Passage shopping center in Moscow. Its other holdings, which include a stake of about 3.6 percent in Russia’s natural-gas exporter, OAO Gazprom, and 3.1 percent in United Co. Rusal, can be only sold when their market price recovers, Dmitriev said.
The lender paid about 30 billion rubles in 2010 for its Rusal stake that’s now valued at about 11 billion rubles.
VEB uses shares of companies like Rusal to get funding in repurchase transactions with the central bank, he said. It’s in talks with the regulator on using American depositary receipts of Gazprom as collateral, according to Dmitriev.Court Challenge
As the bank is adjusting to the new limitations, it’s also challenging them in court. Last week, VEB and Russia’s two biggest banks, OAO Sberbank and VTB Group, filed claims against the EU in a bid to lift the punitive measures.
Dmitriev acknowledges feeling “upset” when he first learned in July that sanctions against his bank were possible.
“I understood perfectly well that we’ll have to work while facing limited opportunities,” he said.
The fallout from the standoff over Ukraine has hurt many longstanding business relationships, he said. Still, banks in Australia and New Zealand were the only ones to close VEB’s correspondent accounts, according to Dmitriev.
“Not a single American or European bank has done that,” he said. “We’re trying to maintain relations with international partners even as business has become impossible.”
Vnesheconombank Chairman Vladimir Dmitriev’s Interview to TV Channel Russia 24
CORR: Good afternoon Vladimir Alexandrovich. Thank you very much for finding the time to talk with us. Let us sum up what has been just said at the conference especially under conditions of sanctions. What instruments – financial, administrative – do our exporters need the most?
Vladimir DMITRIEV, Vnesheconombank Chairman: Exporters in all spheres need to have industrial exports support institutions. At the Conference today we have said that a system of industrial exports comprehensive support is in place in our country. It is comprised of the Russian Economic Development Ministry, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade and development institutions themselves that are responsible for providing support. They include Vnesheconombank – Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs, the Export Insurance Agency of Russia (EXIAR) and Russia’s largest leasing company VEB-Leasing, which is Vnesheconombank’s subsidiary. We also mentioned the fact that by creating this system we provide exporters not only with financial and insurance support but also with necessary information resources, which are of primary importance for exporters to know what mechanisms are available for Russian exporters to promote their products to foreign markets.
CORR: As far development of these institutions is concerned, last week you approved Strategy 15-20 and it was not a basic version but an upgraded one. What sort of version is it? What are its main points?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: In fact, last week we had a meeting of Vnesheconombank’s Supervisory Board, which approved a program of Vnesheconombank’s development, we call it a Strategy. Several versions were offered. Despite everything: despite a serious situation with the budget, despite the sanctions, our country should develop and development institutions should develop and be instrumental in developing the Russian economy. So, an upgraded version was approved. It provides for Vnesheconombank’s loan portfolio to increase to 2.5 trillion rubles by 2020. And an important thing is that Russian industrial exports with the assistance of Vnesheconombank and its subsidiaries will be provided with a support of 750 billion rubles, with 500 billion rubles accounting for credit support and 250 – for guarantee support. Of course, we hope that our subsidiaries will be supported and additionally capitalized, here I mean above all Roseximbank and this will enable a Center for Credit and Insurance Support, being created on the basis of EXIAR and Roseximbank, to operate in full strength. It should be kept in mind that Vnesheconombank was established among other things to support small and medium-sized enterprises and our strategy provides for supporting this segment of the Russian economy in the amount of 250 billion rubles. In approving our Strategy, the Government is aware that without the state’s support measures both in terms of liquidity and in terms of the Bank’s capitalization, it would be very difficult, if at all, to achieve the said results. So, these issues were also discussed. We discussed them at the meeting with the Russian Prime Minister where we considered measures for the state’s support of Vnesheconombank including its additional capitalization and the Bank’s fulfilment of obligations it assumed under credit agreements as well as repayment of debts to foreign creditors and capital markets.
CORR: What about the amount? If I am not mistaken, we talked about a basic scenario that provide for about 100 billion and if we talk about an upgraded scenario it must be even more.
Vladimir DMITRIEV: The fact is that under this strategy and given the need to increase its loan portfolio, the Bank is to be additionally capitalized in the amount of at least 30 billion rubles per year. As far as other support measures are concerned, the state believe that it and the Central Bank would expand the range of instruments to provide Vnesheconombank with liquidity. We can feel this support even now and we are grateful to the Central Bank for increasing Vnesheconombank’s limit from half capital to capital upon mutual guarantees of banks and this is more than 500 billion rubles. We are also holding talks with the Finance Ministry about expanding the range of instruments available for Vnesheconombank from the Finance Ministry and we can see positive reaction on the part of the Finance Ministry. I have already said today that in order to implement our strategy of supporting industrial exports we need financial resources to subsidize interest rates and extend credits to foreign importers. Now the Economic Development Ministry and the Ministry of Industry and Trade are considering our requests for an amount of 14 billion rubles - this a total amount of support to subsidize interest rates that we need to ensure the export of Russian industrial products to foreign countries.
CORR.: You have signed another very important agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China for an amount of 2 billion dollars. Do you know what projects you are going to finance with these funds?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: We have discussed concrete projects with our Chinese partners. The projects are associated with supplying Chinese equipment to Russia. I mean above all timber-industrial complex. I would not like to name specific projects now but they deal with timber-industrial complex, mechanical engineering production facilities, that is, sectors where Chinese equipment is competitive with the best foreign analogues.
CORR: And now my last question. On October 28, sanctions against Russia might be reconsidered. What’s your forecast? I guess it’s a thankless job to make forecasts especially about such geo-economic issues. Nevertheless, do you believe that sanctions might be softened a few days from now?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: In this respect, I have a conservative view. I don’t think that our foreign partners are likely to change their approaches to Russia. I believe that their policy toward Russia is linked not only to the situation in Ukraine although they say it is. I think there are deeper reasons. It remains to be seen. But I’d like to stress it once more that this time my position is rathere conservative.
CORR.: Thank you very much for your interview, Vladimir Alexandrovich.
Vladimir DMITRIEV: Thank you.
Vnesheconombank Chairman V.A. Dmitriev’s Interview to the TV Channel Russia 24
TV Channel Russia 24,
News agencies keep on reporting news with a mark “economy” and “urgent” related to Vnesheconombank. For example, the Russian Government is to provide Vnesheconombank with 240 billion rubles as well as news about a new fund to support mono-cities. My colleague Alexandra Suvorova will talk now about all this with Vnesheconombank Chairman Vladimir Dmitriev. Sasha, we are on airnow, I’m giving you the floor. Good evening.
Correspondent Alexandra Suvorova
CORR.: Good evening Dima. We are now receiving information about VEB’s Supervisory Board meeting here at the White Housefrom the horse’s mouth. Good evening, Vladimir Alexandrovich.
Vladimir DMITRIEV, Vnesheconombank Chairman: Good evening.
CORR.: My first question deals with the recently most discussed issue –VEB’s additional capitalization. On Tuesday, you had a meeting with Dmitry Medvedev. What agreements were you able to reach? Today, the Russian media informed that 240 billion rubles had been extended to Vnesheconombank. How can you comment on the news?
Vladimir DMMITRIEV: In fact, on Tuesday we discussed issues with the Prime Minister, our Bank’s Supervisory Board Chairman. They were related to our Bank’s potential additional capitalization and to providing it with liquidity for it to fulfil its obligations both to its creditors and borrowersunder the credit agreements we had signed. The Bank needs 240 billion rubles to fulfil its obligations to borrowers, above all, Russian borrowers we signed binding agreements with. A decision to provide VEB with various kinds of state support was taken at the meeting for it to fulfil the said obligations. Moreover, we also said that the state should also think about assisting Vnesheconombank in repaying credits and bond issues,maturity of which comes due next yearand the amount is as much as 70 billion rubles. Our request was met with understanding, and after the meeting, we were instructed to consider various forms of state support for Vnesheconombank together with economic bloc ministries and the Central Bank. . But in this case I’d like to stress that we are not after any exclusiveness for our Bank because we are well aware that a whole number of banks are affected by sectoral sanctions and the state can’t help leaving them without support. But the state should help not only banks but also companies for them to avoid negative consequences fortheir financialsustainability and failure to fulfil obligations to their creditors and partners. Our Bank needs additional capitalization to go on funding projects of national importance as well as supporting industrial exports and small and medium-sized enterprises. These are priorities of Vnesheconombank’s strategy up to the year 2020, which we are to submit to consideration by our Supervisory Board. Under this strategy, and in line with the current trends of the Bank’s development, we raise a question of the Bank’s additional capitalization for it to meet key financial sustainability standards and above all maintaining capital adequacy ratio at a level of no less than 10 percent because it is this level that is specified in our credit agreements andEurobond issue prospectuses.An initial amount of support is 30 billion rubles, which we need to maintain capital adequacy ratio next year.We are grateful to the Government for making decisions on converting subordinated loans worth more than 6 billion dollars, whichwere placed on deposits at our Bank, into subordinated deposits. Thus, our capital adequacy ratio is now more than 14 percent and this allows us to enhance our investment activity.
CORR.: You have already mentioned the Bank’s strategy up to the year 2020. What are its main features?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: Our strategy is based on the so-called Vnesheconombank’s modernization development scenario, which provides for expanding our Bank’s participation in nationally significant investment projects. We have already overfulfilled the strategy we planned to implement until 2015 inclusive, so we need to review it. But we believe that despite the problems faced by our country, Vnesheconombank should play the most important role as a development institution, so our strategy provides for increasing our loan portfolio to 2.5-3 trillion rubles in 2020. We intend to increase our support for industrial exports to 750 billion rubles and our support for small and medium-sized enterprises- to250 billion rubles on average. Industrial exports support is in line with the approved RoadMap which is to be implemented by Vnesheconombank and its subsidiary institutions, for example, Roseximbank, which we are to sell in the short term under the presidential directive to our export insurance agency. A credit-insurance center is also to be created. It will operate as a credit factory responsible for supporting Russian exporters. These are our main objectives and priorities and we have already discussed this strategy at a meeting with the Prime Minister. We expect the Government to support our strategy.
CORR.: There have been a lot ofreports in the Russian mediatoday about VEB’s intention to sell Gazprom’s and Rusal’s shares. To what extent are these reports true and realistic?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: It is certainly not true that we are holding talks on this issue with anybody. The reason for these reports is that our Bank and economic bloc ministries have proposed various options to improve our Bank’s financial standing and provide it with additional liquidity.But it must be understood that the price of the assets we purchasedat that time was a lot higher than their current market price. So, Vnesheconombank together with the economic bloc is expected to explore the possibility of selling these assets on a step-by-step basis so that Vnesheconombank does not sustain losses. Thank you.
Vladimir Dmitriev: VEB will develop in a stable way despite sanctions
HOST: We are again getting back to Sochi where the 13th International Investment is undeway. Now it’s my colleague Alexei Bobrovsky’s turn to speak.
Alexei BOBROVSKYlexeiBOBROVSKYhis cooperation task.s stable is advancing rapidly.tegyecte raised billions o dollars cludes Vnesheconombank an: I’m glad to welcome in our studio Vnesheconombank Chairman Vladimir Dmitriev. Vladimir Alexandrovich thank you for finding time to visit us. I’d like to start with the news that is being discussed by very many people but not so many understand why it is so important. It became known that VEB hoped for an additional capitalization worth 100 billion rubles in 2015and everybody started to talk that VEB had some problems. But not all know that VEB is not a purely commercial bank, it is above all a development institution which is forced to operate in line with commercial banks’ principles. What’s the reason for it? Maybe, you’llexplain it clearly?
Vladimir DMITRIEV, Vnesheconombank Chairman: You’ve got to the heart of the matter right away. We are not a commercial bank and we are not a public company, which places its shares on the markets and increases its capital. Sources of our capitalization are budgetary funds as we are a state corporation and we are owned by the state. In our capacity of a bank for development, we must rebuild our capital base for us to be in line with Basel standards and those of the Central Bank. A key standard for us now is capital adequacy ratio, which is supposed to be at least 10%. So, when we are speaking about our new strategy, about our increased loan portfolio and expanded investment activity we naturally raise the question of increasing our capital for us to follow required sustainability standards.
Alexei BOBROVSKY: You don’t have to do it in 2014, you need to do it in 2015.
Vladimir DMITRIEV: Thankfully, we have addressed this problem in 2014 by way of converting deposits of the National Wealth Fund into tier 2 capital. This transaction will be closed in a day or two. As a whole, we are grateful both to the Government and the Finance Ministry for their assistance in resolving this problem. Despite the difficult global situation, we set ourselves ambitious tasks of increasing our influence on the country’s economy and its development.There is no doubt that an issue of our capitalization is of overriding importance.
Alexei BOBROVSKY: Is VEB going to change its strategy in the situation of sanctions? It goes withoutsaying, that a development institution should above all invest in the projects that are needed by the state and should not focus on return on investment. Nevertheless, my understanding is that Western markets are closed and you have to think how to earn money – even on a small scale. Do you have to think about changing your strategy?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: We are submitting a new strategy to our Supervisory Board because our former strategy until the year 2015has been already fulfilled this year. So, we raise the question of approving a new strategy. But despite the worsening of the geopolitical and economic situation we deem it necessary to develop in a sustainable way. So, we propose to approve a new strategy which provides for increasing our loan portfolio to 2.5-3 trillion rubles until the year 2020 as well as for increasing our participation in providing support for industrial exports to 550 billion rubles. This support includes guarantee assistance as well as support by way of providing credit facilities and support for small and medium-sized enterprises – Vnesheconombank’s key lines of activity.
Alexei BOBROVSKY: And not only such economically profitable projects. For example providing support for mono-cities, which might be discussed at a meeting of VEB’s Supervisory Board next week, this is a very grave problem for the Russian economy.
Vladimir DMITRIEV: It’s really a very grave problem. But I think a lot has been done recently to improve the the situation. You know that Vnesheconombank Deputy Chairman Irina Makieva isin charge of the interdepartment group. We are closely cooperating with the Economic Development Ministry. As part of our President’s instructions, a decision was made to establish a fund to support mono-cities. At a meeting of VEB’s Supervisory Board we’ll agree upon a candidature of this fund’s head. The fund will be substantially capitalized. And these funds will be used not only to finance infrastructure but also pre-project work and training courses designed to train regional authorities and professional investors to be able to enter the market with good high-quality projects.
Alexei BOBROVSKY: You provide support for new good projects, for example new projects of the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Corporation. VEB purchased the Corporation’s shares worth 25 billion rubles. This is in general a strategic investment.
Vladimir DMITRIEV: There is no doubt about it. One of VEB’s top-priority lines of activity is to support high-technology production facilities. But in case of “Sukhoi”, it’s not only support for production facilities but also support for exports. We can see the geography of these aircraft’s supplies expanding – now we are supplying them to Mexico. Quite recently we have shown a picture from Venicewhere the planes are assembled for foreign customers at an assembly plant. This is not just an assembly of aircraftthis is cooperation with foreign producers – in this case with our Italian partners.
A transaction we have conducted recently with the United Aircraft Corporation - we purchased a block of shares, by the way, through using profit we received from selling EADS stake- is a part of our work on supporting our domestic aviation industry and promoting its products to foreign markets by using a comprehensive exports support system which includes Vnesheconombank and EXIAR (the Export Insurance Agency of Russia) and of course our foreign partners.
Alexei BOBROVSKY: It is quite clear that it’s difficult now to deal with Western partners, and what sort of strategy do you pursue in your relations with Eastern partners? Heads of major commercial banks have different opinions on this issue. As a whole, there are two opinions on this issue. The first one is that they want to lend money only to fund specific projects that are beneficial for the East. The second opinion is that we should just be able to work with them in a proper way and in this case, we are sure to find an adequate approach.How do you feel about it?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: It is obvious that we are not devising any new strategy; we are following the strategy that we have been implementing within several decades.
Alexei BOBROVSKY: That is to say, you had it in the past?
Vladimir DMITRIEV: Yes, we did - with respect to South-East Asia and China in particular. We have good relations with such partners as the China State Development Bank, one of the largest financing institution, the China Eximbank, China’sInsurance Agency SINOSURE. Above .all, I’d like to single out our relations with the China State Development Bank. I’d also mention our bilateral relations, our leading role in SCO Interbank Consortium as well as our close cooperation within BRICKS.
And I’d like to stress that our cooperation with the China State Development Bank is based not only on trust but also on the projects we are jointly implementing both in our country and also in third countries. Here I mean Kazakhstan where we are working together with the China State Development Bank to upgrade and expand the Ekibastuz production facilities. In the course of decades of our cooperation with the China State Development Bank we have raised billions of dollars on a tied and untied basis. And quite recently we have signed a new agreement with the China Eximbank on funding the Elginsk Coking and Power Generating Coals Deposit.
Our Bank and NOVATEK work with our Chinese partners - the China State Development Bank and the China Investment Corporation. Our work is designed to engage our Chinese partners in the Yamal LNG project. The China State Development Bank has extended credit facilities worth more than 500 million dollars to build a multifunctional office complex. The complex is to be built by Chinese companieson the territory of the former Slava watch plant next to Belarussian railway station. We received this property through rehabilitating GLOBEXBANK.So, we maintain multilateral cooperation and it is based not only tied credits but also on pure credit facilities. And we highly appreciate this cooperation without changing our strategy, without devising any new firefighting methods, measures and schemes. This is a long-time cooperation, it is stable is advancing rapidly.
Alexei BOBROVSKY: I wish you every success in this task.