VEB.RF, Sber, Prosvescheniye Group Join Forces to Launch Large-scale Schools Construction Programme under Supervision of Russian Ministry of Education

4 june 2021 года
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  • VEB.RF signed first agreements of intent with ten regions to build new schools.
  • The signing ceremony took place during the SPIEF-2021 at the panel discussion “Big Change: Investing into the Future”.

During the panel discussion “Big Change: Investing into the Future”, VEB.RF announced a significant equity investment in ProSchool LLC (a subsidiary of the Prosvescheniye Group). A new ownership structure will be formed in Q3 2021 following the approval of the transaction by the governance bodies of all the stakeholders.

It is another step for an unprecedented large-scale schools construction PPP programme. All the new schools will have state-of-the-art equipment and will benefit from the best infrastructural solutions. This programme is one of the key components of the Education national project under the supervision of the Russian Ministry of Education.

ProSchool LLC was approved by the Russian Government as a concessionaire. Russian constituent and municipal entities have the right to enter into PPP agreements with ProSchool without competitive bidding to build new schools as part of the public education development programme. VEB.RF’s equity investment into ProSchool LLC is part of the joint VEB.RF and Sber PPP agenda to develop educational infrastructure. Sber intends to become ProSchool’s key financial partner to build schools using the PPP mechanism.

Sergey Kravtsov, Minister of Education of the Russian Federation:

“We selected pilot projects under the programme, and we saw constituent entities’ interest in PPP agreements. A new systemic federal player with a fast track project preparation and implementation procedure will make it possible for us to fulfil the task set be the President.”

Igor Shuvalov, Chairman, VEB.RF:

“VEB.RF’s new strategy is centred around partnerships. We are confident that this ambitious and socially important task, to build schools, may be fulfilled only by this model. VEB.RF’s Management Board resolved to approve VEB.RF’s equity investment into ProSchool to fulfil the President’s instruction. We believe that our key task is to provide the constituent entities of the Russian Federation with methodology and organisational support to benefit from public support measures to implement projects together with ProSchool. We intend to participate in structuring financing for the projects and financing ProSchool’s projects with our partner banks.”

Anatoly Popov, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board, Sberbank:

“ProSchool’s projects stem from our PPP competencies, experience in concessions to build schools, demand from the Russian Ministry of Education and constituent entities to build state-of-the-art educational facilities using the PPP mechanism. We intend not only to be the main financial partner for such projects, but also to offer organisational and methodological support.”

Vladimir Uzun, President of the Prosvescheniye Group:

“ProSchool will be able to scale its projects in all constituent entities of the Russian Federation only by partnering up with strong financial organisations. We are glad to announce our partnership with Sberbank and VEB.RF to develop ProSchool. The Prosvescheniye Group believes that we should not only assist the concessioner in building educational facilities in line with modern educational and upbringing standards. But we also should assist the executive authorities in the development of future federal and municipal educational institutions by training administrative and academic staff, and transferring best extended education practices for future school children.”

The partners have plans to implement projects in more than 50 Russian regions. The Government resolved to tighten the schedule for implementation of the projects: new schools shall open their doors by 2024 to cope with the school children’s boom.

VEB.RF Chairman Igor Shuvalov and heads of ten regions signed cooperation agreements to work on projects to build educational institutions for the Russian regions under PPP agreements. Pilot projects will be launched in: Vladimir, Irkutsk, Omsk, Samara, and Novgorod Regions, Krasnoyarsk Territory, Republics of Buryatia and Yakutia, and Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District.

The participants to the session, including school children, teachers, principals discussed approaches to fulfil the instruction of the Russian President to the Russian Government and State Development Corporation VEB.RF: to create more than 1,300 new schools. More than 500 schools will be built under a new joint programme of the Russian Ministry of Education and VEB.RF to obtain private financing. The programme will require RUB235bn of federal budget funds and RUB295bn from private investors. VEB.RF is ready to co-finance the project and to attract financing from partner banks. VEB.RF’s commitment is limited at 30% of the total private financing under the programme (circa RUB90bn).

The rules for financing schools construction with VEB.RF’s support, including PPP projects are established by Ordinance of the Government of the Russian Federation “On Amendments to the Federal Government Programme ‘Education Development’”. The programme will make it possible for more than 647 thousand children to get school education. This is one of the crucial components to reach the key goal of the Education national project: to become one of the top ten countries in terms of the quality of general education by 2030.

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VEB.RF, Gazprombank, and EXIAR Consider Committing USD800mn to MTO Plant in Uzbekistan

4 june 2021 года
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VEB.RF, Gazprombank and EXIAR are considering committing USD800mn to build a MTO (Methanol to Olefins) plant in the town of Karakul, the Bukhara Region, Uzbekistan.

The memorandum of understanding in this area was signed by VEB.RF, Gazprombank, the Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (EXIAR), and Jizzakh Petroleum at the SPIEF-2021.

Daniil Algulyan, Deputy Chairman and Member of the Management Board, VEB.RF:

“Mainly, our commitment is aimed to support the export of Russian products, including equipment and services. The preliminary amount set by the parties is USD800mn, including EXIAR’s insurance coverage. VEB.RF is now involved in discussing Uzbek oil and gas projects with Russian exports of high-tech products and services for a total of over 1.5 billion US dollars.”

Aleksey Belous, Deputy Chairman, Gazprombank:

“Recently, Russian businesses have been active in entering the economic space of Uzbekistan. Gazprombank is one the most active Russian banks with presence in Uzbekistan. For several years, Gazprombank has been involved in large-scale investment projects in cooperation with leading Uzbek oil and gas, petrochemical, industrial other key players of the Uzbek economy. Namely, we are actively financing the supply of high-technology Russian equipment to build a GTL plant in Uzbekistan. The plant will receive stripped methane from the Shurtansky Plant. Another potential key Uzbek project for VEB.RF and EXIAR is the MTO plant.”

Nikita Gusakov, Senior Vice-President, Russian Export Center:

“We consider such comprehensive investment projects as a tool to create sustainable demand for the export of Russian technologies. At the same time, the success of investment projects hinges on efficient financing mechanisms, as Russian contractors face global companies and their technical and financial capabilities when they enter international markets. Therefore, we see the greatest demand for affordable financing for a foreign borrower or the borrower’s bank.

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VEB.RF Supports Pulp-and-paper Mill Construction in Karelia

4 june 2021 года
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The VEB.RF Group and Segezha West (part of the Segezha Group, AFC Sistema) have agreed to work together to build a new pulp-and-paper mill in the Republic of Karelia. The agreement in this area was signed by VEB.RF Deputy Chairman and Member of the Management Board Artyom Dovlatov, VEB.RF Senior Vice-President Anton Perin, and Segezha West Chairman of the Board Mikhail Shamolin today at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The funds provided by the VEB.RF Group will be channelled into the construction of a pulp-and-paper mill.

The mill will ensure added-value Karelian pulp wood-processing and non-commodity exports’ growth.

In December 2020, Segazha West entered into a trilateral investment protection and promotion agreement with the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and the Republic of Karelia and received the Russian Arctic Zone resident status.

“As a key financial development institution, VEB.RF offers active support to investment projects in the Arctic. Our goal is to promote the potential of this territory and to be a social and economic development driver in the Arctic,” Artyom Dovlatov said.

“Our goal in Karelia is to create a state-of-the-art biotechnology facility to maximise added-value wood-processing. The project will also dispel environmental concerns of Segezha’s citizens, and provide them with power and heat supply. It is an ambitious complex task which will require the consolidation of resources, including those of the banking sector,” Mikhail Shamolin noted.

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VEB.RF and Sirius Invite Architects from all Around Globe to Compete for Embankment Design in Sochi

4 june 2021 года
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VEB.RF and the Urban Planning Centre of Sirius Science and Technology University launched an international contest to design an embankment for the first Russian federal territory (Sirius). The contest was announced at the SPIEF-2021.

The contest will be open to applicants on 5 July 2021 at: sirius-veb-competition.com. Architects will be competing to share a total of 26 million roubles in prize money. The winner will be announced in December 2021. Russian and international architects and landscape designers can apply for participation. A number of applications will be reserved for emerging designers which will give an opportunity to young professionals to compete on equal terms with major architecture firms. Applicants shall present a master plan, general, space-planning, volumetric and spatial, architectural, landscaping, transport, engineering and other solutions to design a 7.5 km embankment connecting Mzymta and Psou rivers.

Applicants may join their efforts to bid as teams or joint ventures. The first Russian federal territory Sirius grows to develop science, education, culture, sports, and tourism. Sirius will offer a fundamentally new approach to schools and universities, vocational training, talent management, and new recreation formats for families with kids, and smart tourism opportunities at the Black Sea coast. Sirius makes good use of 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics legacy facilities, and soon will benefit from new projects: a university campus, a health centre, a music hall, a college, and a seaside sports park.

VEB.RF will be represented in this contest by ProGorod LLC, the VEB.RF Group’s special purpose company in the area of real estate projects and integrated spatial development. VEB.RF’s partner Strelka KB will assist in organising the contest.

“VEB.RF’s investments have made a significant contribution to the development of the Greater Sochi. Our partnership with Sirius will make possible to promote the potential of the federal territory and to find top notch, outside the box urban planning solutions. Seaside view of the embankment matters, we need to reinforce 2014 Olympics’ legacy by leveraging existing sport venues and urban environment,” Head of VEB.RF Real Property Projects and Asset Management and Member of the Board Alexander Tarabrin said.

“Improvement of the embankment is one of the crucial tasks for Sirius development. The coastal area will offer art classes, professional and amateur sports, walkways, open sky festivals, popular scientific lectures, and meetings with artists to urban dwellers. In the next ten years, Sirius will be home for 40 thousand people, including scientists and university students. The embankment needs to provide maximum convenience to visitors all year round,” Elena Shmeleva, Head of Talent and Success Foundation, said.

“Sirius embankment is the natural border of the federal territory, but actually it is the main centre of attraction. It’s the beating tourism heart of Sirius. It is very important to shape the concept for this iconic location today and to get feedback from professionals. They may offer futuristic and ambitious visions, yet it is the main purpose of the contest: to get fresh ideas, to get inspired, to learn global best practices. The projects of the winners will guide us in drafting the development plan for the territory. We count on participation of serious players from the professional community, but we also welcome grass roots initiatives, ideas, and proposals,” Andrey Stolyarov, Interim Head of the Federal Territory, said.

Russian and international urban planning and development experts will be invited to sit on the jury. The winning design will be recommended for construction under the supervision of the contest’s winner.

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VEB.RF, Sber, and Google Cooperate to Develop SMEs

4 june 2021 года
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At the SPIEF-2021, VEB.RF, Sber, and Google entered into a strategic cooperation agreement.

The document was signed on behalf of VEB.RF by its Chairman Igor Shuvalov, on behalf of Sberbank by its Chairman German Gref, and on behalf of Google by Managing Director of Google Russia Yulia Solovyova. The parties agreed to cooperate in the following areas of business:

  • joint projects with small and medium-sized enterprises (including self-employed persons);
  • joint seminars, lectures, and case studies;
  • sharing experience in the introduction of innovative information technologies in the activities of small and medium-sized enterprises (including self-employed persons).

“BusinessClass project proved to be successful and relevant for Russian entrepreneurs. Accession of the VEB.RF Group to the partnership between Sber and Google will make it possible for small and medium-sized enterprises to use BusinessClass programme and Razvivay.rf platform for new learning and development opportunities. Today, digitalisation is crucial for successful business as well as continuous learning and skills development.”

Igor Shuvalov, Chairman, VEB.RF:

“This year marks the fifth anniversary of our free joint on-line programme BusinessClass for SMEs. The programme counts around one million participants. Since the launch of the programme, they have created more than 14,000 new businesses in various Russian regions, 58,000 jobs, and generated 45 billion roubles in additional tax revenues for budgets at all levels.

We believe that it is a good practice and are ready to share our experience in interdisciplinary learning, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and new educational technologies with our partners.”

German Gref, CEO and Chairman of Sberbank

“Google highly values its long-term partnership relations with Sber, VEB.RF and Razvivay.rf. The memorandum is a milestone which strengthens the relations and significantly improves financial literacy and Russia’s business environment.”

Yulia Solovyova, Managing Director of Google Russia:

The memorandum already outlines plans to implement several projects. The first one is an on-line training course “Smart Finance. Hands-on Accounting, Taxes and Law for Entrepreneurs”. The course is available at Google and Sber’s educational website BusinessClass with the support of Razvivay.rf, a young and emerging aggregator of business products.

The course comprises 13 classes on specific topics. After each class, students get examples and advice from successful entrepreneurs, lawyers, and accountants. Namely, Efim Kolodkin, CEO of event venues rental service Bash Today, Guzel Gibadullina, Managing Partner and CFO of Gibadullin and Partners, consulting and audit firm.

Experts tell the students how to raise funds to launch their businesses, to choose an efficient pricing model, to optimise taxes, to break-even, and to achieve timely return on investment.

Every graduate will learn to build unique financial models to objectively assess the rate of return and financing required.

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