VEB.RF and EXIMBANK OF RUSSIA to Provide Financing for New Underground Carriages for Tashkent

5 april 2021 года
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  • VEB.RF has a new export contract with Uzbekistan
  • The Tashkent Metro will receive 40 new carriages

VEB.RF and Tashkent Metro Company, a subsidiary of O’zbekiston Temir Yo’llari (Uzbekistan Railways), have signed a loan agreement for the supply of ten modern underground trains manufactured by Transmashholding, Russia. The credit line is 30.4 million euros for 12 years.

Russian Export Center (REC, part of the VEB.RF Group) will also provide financing through EXIMBANK OF RUSSIA (part of the REC Group), which will have a separate loan agreement for a portion of the price of underground carriages and for the price of spare parts and accessories, with insurance to be provided by EXIAR (part of the REC Group).

The document was signed on behalf of VEB.RF by its Deputy Chairman and member of the Board Daniil Algulyan and on behalf of the Tashkent Metro by Tashkent Metro Company’s CEO Oybek Khudoikulov. The signing ceremony took place during the International Industrial Exhibition INNOPROM.

“Support for Russian industrial exports is a key area for VEB.RF. A large-scale programme to renew the public transport system is under way in Uzbekistan. The Tashkent Metro already uses Russian-made modern trains: with the support of VEB.RF, Tashkent received five trains in the autumn of 2019. And this is not the only Uzbek-Russian urban project. VEB.RF and the Office of the Mayor of Tashkent are now discussing several infrastructural projects,” Daniil Algulyan said.

“Uzbekistan is our important partner, and we are definitely interested in the joint implementation of large infrastructural projects aimed at socio-economic development. This project features the participation of two Russian financial institutions, EXIMBANK OF RUSSIA and VEB.RF. With support from the Uzbek Government, they provided full financing for the buyer of Russian equipment, Tashkent Metro Company,” said Veronika Nikishina, CEO, REC.

“We are sincerely grateful to our Uzbek partners for their confidence,” said Andrey Vasilyev, Deputy CEO, Transmashholding. “I’m sure the residents of Tashkent will appreciate the comfort, aesthetics and safety of the new Russian trains.”

The trains will be manufactured by Moscow-based Metrovagonmash (part of Transmashholding). Each of the ten trains will have four underground carriages. The carriages feature modular gangway connections, enabling passengers to move from one carriage to another, and double-leaf sliding plug doors, 1.4 metres wide, with external door status signal lights. The head carriages have wheelchair spaces. Each passenger compartment is fitted with touchscreen monitors with all the necessary functionality (station search, route planning, travel time calculation). The passenger compartments and driver’s cabs are equipped with video surveillance, air conditioning and air sanitising systems. The service life of the underground carriages and underframes is 30 years. The windscreen of the driver’s cab is fitted with a manually adjustable sun shade, taking into account the characteristics of the Tashkent Metro: this rapid transit system has a number of elevated sections.

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Intellectually Disabled People in Yakutia to Get New Assistance on 1 April

1 april 2021 года
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  • The republican authorities and VEB.RF launch an assisted living programme for people with disabilities
  • The programme aims to help 30 mentally impaired local residents to become equal members of society

The assisted living programme for people with mental health disabilities is to come into test operation in Yakutia on 1 April.

Svetlana Yachevskaya, Deputy Chairperson and member of the Board, VEB.RF, said: “The project is designed to make it unnecessary for people with mental health needs to live in neuropsychiatric establishments. They can live with their families or even independently. Mental disorders can differ from each other. And many of these people can really lead a socialised life. It’s very important to see how assisted living, the fact that these people live in conditions similar to their homes with certain necessary modifications or in a specially created environment, would help them to learn some social skills. The most important for people—with any abilities, with any impairments, with any special needs—is quality of life. And most of these people can considerably improve their quality of life thanks to our project. Private investment in the social sphere will make it possible to achieve fundamentally new results.”

The idea is implemented within a special category of projects, namely social impact bonds. They are clearly structured. The government engages private investors to finance social impact projects and pays for the achievement of specified outcomes. In this case, the goal is to help 30 mentally impaired local residents to become equal members of society and have normal activities of daily living, such as finding a job and starting a family. Eighteen of them will receive help at home, another 12 in the assisted living residence that will soon open in Yakutsk.

“The Far East, with its vast, sparsely populated area and its harsh climate, is desperate for innovative solutions aimed at improving quality of life. In Yakutia, we adapted mechanisms for financing social impact projects to be suitable for local conditions. These mechanisms are widely used all over the world and make it possible to attract private investment to quickly and efficiently deal with governmental issues. Yakutia has two social impact projects funded by VEB.DV (part of the VEB.RF Group). One of them is aimed at improving the quality of education for schoolchildren, and the other is launched today: in the area of assisted living for people with mental health disabilities. This is only the beginning of the radical transformation of social financing, and the VEB.RF Group will pay particular attention to it in the Far East,” said Artyom Dovlatov, Deputy Chairman and member of the Board, VEB.RF.

The project originator is the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia); the investor is VEB.DV, a subsidiary of VEB.RF; the contractor is GAOORDI, a Saint Petersburg–based association of disabled children’s parents. GAOORDI has considerable experience of organising assisted living facilities for mentally impaired people.

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VEB.RF and InfraVEB Ready for New Tourism Projects

2 february 2021 года
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VEB.RF, InfraVEB and Gleden Invest have signed a memorandum of cooperation to assess, prepare and carry out tourism-related investment projects.

The document was signed by Nikolay Tsekhomsky, First Deputy Chairman and member of the Board, VEB.RF; Alexander Klyachin, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Gleden Invest; and Denis Nozdrachev, CEO, InfraVEB.

The parties are considering projects to create ski resorts, a chain of hotels, a seaside resort, a resort within the Golden Ring of Russia, and a leisure and hotel complex in the Urals Federal District. For example, the projects include the expansion of the Sheregesh Ski Resort recreational area (investments of up to 10 billion roubles) and the construction of hotels in Tobolsk, Blagoveshchensk and the Elbrus region. The total project value is estimated at dozens of billions of roubles.

“Promoting tourism as a sector of the urban economy is high on VEB.RF’s list of priorities. We today agreed on the distribution of tasks among the parties. I’m confident our cooperation will be mutually beneficial and will allow us to begin to provide financing as soon as possible for specific significant investment projects related to tourism, aiming to implement the presidential decree on the national development goals of the Russian Federation for the period until 2030,” Nikolay Tsekhomsky said.

“Gleden Invest is the largest Russian player in the hotel services market, and we are interested in promoting and implementing new tourism projects in Russia. By participating in projects with such partners as VEB.RF and InfraVEB, we can provide the market with new modern technologies and quality standards and, at the same time, increase our hospitality business,” Alexander Klyachin said.

“Tourism projects need public and private investment, including through public-private partnerships. InfraVEB will help to increase the number of well-prepared investment projects, and we are ready to provide the project initiators with advisory and financial services necessary for project financing,” Denis Nozdrachev said.

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VEB.RF Begins to Provide Financing for Russian Railways Digital Transformation Projects Supported by Digital Development Ministry

1 february 2021 года
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VEB.RF and Russian Railways have entered into a loan agreement for 8.9 billion roubles to support the investment programme for Russian Railways digitalisation through the introduction of Russian IT solutions. The low-interest loan is given under the programme of the Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media to support corporate digital transformation based on Russian solutions.

The low-interest lending mechanism is provided by the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation under the Digital Technologies federal project as part of the Digital Economy of the Russian Federation national programme.

VEB.RF Chairman Igor Shuvalov said: “The Digital Development Ministry and VEB.RF are active in working on projects to achieve the national development goals set by the Russian President. VEB.RF is to provide financing to support the large-scale digital transformation of Russian Railways, which will help the company to go digital faster to improve its passenger and freight traffic management, enhance traffic safety, ensure cost transparency and increase its customer focus and workforce productivity.”

“Digitalisation is one of the main tools to transform Russian Railways into a modern and innovative company. By going digital, we are trying to find how to make our work more efficient and, at the same time, getting closer to our customers—passengers and shippers. VEB.RF traditionally supports us by providing financing for infrastructural projects, and I’m sincerely pleased that they’ve also become our digital partner,” said Oleg Belozerov, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board, Russian Railways.

“The low-interest lending programme implemented by the Digital Development Ministry in partnership with Russian major banks aims to support the introduction of domestic digital solutions into companies. The borrower ultimately pays interest of 1 to 5%, and the company can get funding of up to 10 billion roubles. The total credit portfolio is now about 35 billion roubles, while the agreement between Russian Railways and VEB.RF is one of the largest,” said Maxim Parshin, Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation.

The loan is given by VEB.RF for Russian Railways digital transformation projects aimed at:

  • introducing modern management technologies for transport, infrastructure, personnel and electronic documentation,
  • creating a new generation of workstations based on domestically made processors,
  • introducing import-independent software using digital twins, the Internet of Things, big data, distributed ledgers (including blockchains), simulation modelling and machine learning.

The above-mentioned technologies will make it possible to obtain reliable real-time information about the status of transport processes, production facilities and repair operations, automate routine operations and ensure effective managerial decision-making at a qualitatively new level.

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VEB.RF and Strelka KB Study: How New Campuses Can Meet Contemporary Challenges of Students, Universities, Cities and Regions

28 january 2021 года
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With support from the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education, VEB.RF and Strelka KB carried out a study into the current needs and problems of Russian students and universities. The study served as a basis for scenarios of how to set up modern interuniversity campuses in seven Russian pilot cities. The integrated project to create an innovative educational environment (campuses) through public-private partnerships will ensure the achievement of the targets specified in the Infrastructure federal project under the Science and Universities national project, encourage the development of educational infrastructure and bring into existence a qualitatively new educational and urban environment. The implementation of such projects in the regions will contribute towards the national goal “Opportunities for Self-actualization and Talent Development”.

In the seven pilot cities of the project—Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Nizhni Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Perm, Tyumen and Tomsk—53% of universities face a shortage of student accommodation. More than 20% of students are not provided with occupancy rooms. At the same time, sociological studies show that student accommodation and its quality are key to selecting a university among non-resident and foreign applicants. In the course of surveys and interviews, respondents made known their vision of the perfect campus and expressed their ideas about the social and commercial functions, occupancy rooms and socio-cultural programmes of campuses. Using a new form of an innovative educational environment, namely interuniversity campuses, will help to meet the needs of students, attract talented applicants to regional universities and create new centres of urban life.

“Such projects are unique in Russia and combine private returnable investment with federal co-financing. VEB.RF built an economic and financial model for the campus and proposes that the integrated project to create an innovative educational environment should be implements in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. This is about a modern complex with sports facilities, coworking spaces, lecture halls, technology parks, libraries and, of course, living accommodation for students and teachers. The new format of campuses should become the core of a developing urban space and urban environment. This is a fundamentally new model: the creation of a smart space that geographically combines educational facilities with residence halls, with the entire infrastructure growing around this area,” said Svetlana Yachevskaya, Deputy Chairperson and member of the Board, VEB.RF.

It is intended that the study will provide the basis for pilot projects for interuniversity campuses. The scenarios include spatial planning, the functional distribution of floors, and the arrangement of residence halls. These projects can earn a total of over 36 billion roubles for the regional budgets. The seven pilot cities can provide accommodation for more than 51,000 people and create more than 2,000 jobs for small and medium-sized businesses. In addition, the new interuniversity campuses will make Russian academic programmes more attractive and will help to attract foreign students to Russia.

VEB.RF can use the findings of the study to conduct financial and economic due diligence for potential projects for interuniversity campuses in Russian cities. Such projects can be implemented under concession agreements or public-private partnership agreements. The study will help private investors to assess their interest in projects to set up comfortable and modern interuniversity campuses across Russia. As a development institution, VEB.RF considers its participation in the integrated campus project as an agent for the Russian Government. Additionally, VEB.RF can either seek private funding or provide financing for the project in partnership with banks.

“Interuniversity campuses are now created in the United States, Australia, India, Spain and other countries. The main distinguishing feature of this student accommodation is that these campuses can be shared by students studying at different universities. Common spaces on campus become places where representatives of different academic disciplines can communicate with each other, discussing the most challenging projects and collaborations for the first time. Commercial properties on campus are often popular among local residents, who can constitute as many as 90% of all visitors. The new campuses can, therefore, open up new opportunities for students and city dwellers, bring additional benefits for the universities and cities and nurture small businesses in Russian regions,” said Varvara Melnikova, CEO, Strelka Institute, and co-founder and partner, Strelka KB.

The study conducted by VEB.RF and Strelka KB shows that a modern campus provided with all necessary household appliances and furniture, conveniently located, easily accessible by public transport, and having a full range of social infrastructure facilities within walking distance can compare favourably with rented accommodation. Campus accommodation costs can, however, be comparable to those in the market.

The findings of the study can be found in more detail at http://campus.strelka-kb.com/.

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