On 11 December, at the 25th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25), the VEB Group held a session on a green approach to urban sustainability. The delegation was headed by VEB.RF’s Deputy Chairman Cesare Ragaglini.
The session was opened by Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Mikhail Rasstrigin, speaking about Russia’s main climate change initiatives.
Cesare Ragaglini told the audience about the new role of VEB.RF as a coordinator of development institutions and VEB.RF’s new priorities in urban development, noted the significance of VEB.RF’s involvement in Russian national projects and underlined that they were consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
According to Ragaglini, VEB.RF shares international concern about climate change. “Russia is a party to the Paris Agreement, ratified in September 2019. In the issue of climate change, countries are so interdependent that any green initiatives in one country will be of benefit to the entire global community,” he said.
VEB.RF’s representatives also emphasised the importance of adopting a practical approach to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. In this connection, Cesare Ragaglini mentioned that a high proportion of projects approved by VEB.RF in 2016–2018 met the green project financing criteria of the International Development Finance Club (IDFC). Additionally, VEB.RF’s representatives described the programme to implement the Environmental Protection national project and presented VEB.RF’s participation in the project worth 155 billion roubles to build energy-from-waste plants in the Moscow Region.
The session also noted that the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 could not be attained without the adequate development of urban areas, which are home to most people in the world. In this context, DOM.RF presented the results of its efforts to develop and test-operate the Urban Environment Quality Index and the Integrated Territorial Development Standards based on international best practices.
The session took place at the pavilion of the International Development Finance Club. VEB.RF has been actively involved with IDFC since its inception in 2011. The IDFC members are 26 national and regional development banks from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. IDFC traditionally focuses its efforts on the global issues of climate change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
About COP 25
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in May 1992 and entered into force in March 1994. The parties to the UNFCCC are currently more than 180 countries, including Russia, taking joint action to mitigate climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. The signatory nations (Russia signed the UNFCCC in 1994) agreed to implement national climate change programmes, carry out studies and report on their findings.
The Paris Agreement is an agreement signed by 195 UNFCCC members in 2015 to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and curb the increase in global average temperature as part of efforts to reduce global warming.
VEB.RF and Gazprombank to Participate in Creating Russia’s Track & Trace System
The financial institutions will give a syndicated loan totalling 24.2 billion roubles.
VEB.RF, Gazprombank and Operator-CRPT (a subsidiary of the Center for Research in Perspective Technologies (CRPT)) have signed a syndicated loan agreement for 24.2 billion roubles. The loan will be provided through the Project Financing Factory to finance the project to create the Chestny ZNAK track & trace system.
The project is structured as a public-private partnership between CRPT and the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade. The agreement is the first PPP in information technology and the first federal-level PPP in Russia.
CRPT shareholders will invest more than 220 billion roubles in creating and developing the system over 15 years, with a payback period of seven or more years. This will enable the government to achieve its goals of combating the grey economy and counterfeit goods without budgetary financing.
The syndicated loan is limited to a total of 24.2 billion roubles, with VEB.RF’s commitment of 8.7 billion roubles and Gazprombank’s commitment of 15.5 billion roubles.
“This project is important for the transparent operation of the entire consumer goods sector. Its implementation will make it possible to formulate equal and fair rules for commerce. Consumers will receive reliable protection and will be assured that they buy things coming through distribution channels authorised by the original manufacturer or trademark owner,” VEB.RF’s First Deputy Chairman – Member of the Management Board Nikolay Tsekhomsky said.
“Signing the syndicated loan agreement with Gazprombank and VEB.RF made it possible to achieve financial closure in Russia’s first federal-level public-private partnership project. The project will result in building the Russian track & trace system in important sectors such as the production and sale of pharmaceuticals, milk and consumer goods, as well as substantially reducing the sale of counterfeits,” Gazprombank’s Deputy Chairman of the Management Board Alexey Belous commented.
“We have already created the track & trace system with more than 6 billion unique digital codes for cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, furs and footwear. The number of product categories increased on 1 December, and the system will continue to develop next year. Cooperation with VEB.RF and Gazprombank will improve the operator’s financial flexibility in the next 18 months and create the conditions for the accelerated introduction of new product groups, including dairy products intended for the ultimate consumer,” CRPT’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Mikhail Dubin said.
The project to build the Russian end-to-end track & trace system is scheduled for completion in 2014, covering a wide range of goods. The existing system is used for tobacco products, certain pharmaceutical products, fur coats, tyres, footwear and perfumes. Starting from January 2020, the system will include all pharmaceuticals. As from June 2020, inclusion on the track & trace system will be mandatory, including for dairy products.
Belarusian Government and VEB.RF Agree on Financial Support for Exports to Third Countries
The Belarusian Government, represented by the Ministry of Finance, and VEB.RF have agreed on the terms and conditions of VEB.RF’s support for both Belarusian exports and Russian-Belarusian joint exports to third countries.
The agreement was signed by Minister of Finance Maksim Yermolovich on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Belarus and First Deputy Chairman – Member of the Management Board Nikolay Tsekhomsky on behalf of VEB.RF.
This is the first agreement under the government’s export support programme updated this year. The main changes in 2019 allow the export support mechanism to be used for exports not only to Russia but also to third countries (outside the United State of Russia and Belarus).
“Belarusian manufacturers can now take advantage of the Russian programme to have subsidised loan interest rates for the export of Russian-made components in their end products. Buyers from third countries will, in turn, be able to use the Belarusian programme subsidising interest rates for products imported from Belarus and containing Russian components,” Nikolay Tsekhomsky said.
The agreement between VEB.RF and the Belarusian Government provides for all kinds of soft-term financing involving non-resident banks under the updated programme: direct lending to buyers, interbank lending to the buyer’s bank and post-financing for documentary export credits. The agent bank under the agreement is Bank BelVEB, VEB.RF’s Belarusian-based subsidiary.
“Bank BelVEB initiated changes to the programme specified in Decree 466. Signing the first agreement with VEB.RF was the logical thing to do. This is another important contribution of the VEB.RF Group to the Belarusian economy and the promotion of closer integration with the Russian Federation by developing a financial infrastructure for export support. That is why Bank BelVEB encourages Belarusian exporters to join this unique programme,” Bank BelVEB’s Chairman of the Board Vasily Matyushevsky said.
To receive financing from VEB.RF, Belarusian exporters should use at least 30% of Russian-made components. Financing is offered for up to 5 years.
The agreement will enable Russian and Belarusian exporters to take advantage of a new mechanism helping them to enter the potentially lucrative markets in Latin America, Africa and South-East Asia.
The VEB.RF Group will provide Central Exurban Passenger Company (CEPC) with lease financing for six EP2D electric multiple units designed to carry passengers, composed of 11 carriages each and made by Demikhovo Engineering Works (part of Transmashholding).
Th total amount of financing will be 4.4 billion roubles.
The electric multiple units will be used by CEPC for its commuter rail services. This will enable old trains to be retired and replaced by modern rolling stock.
The passenger carriages are equipped with comfortable seats for long-distance commuters. Air conditioners and purifiers provide thermal comfort and acceptable air quality, which is especially important in winter.
EP2Ds meet the needs of passengers with disabilities. The carriages are outfitted with ramps and durable safety belts for wheelchairs.
“It is our conscious decision to pay particular attention to cooperation with the regions under the programmes to modernise urban public transit and replace commuter rail systems. Passenger flows, of course, are different everywhere; but this should not affect such socially significant projects. We have already started to finance this deal,” VEB.RF’s Deputy Chairman Artyom Dovlatov commented.
Economic Integration in Greater Eurasia VEB.RF’s Priority for SCO IBA Presidency
The RSK Bank of Kyrgyzstan handed over the presidency of the Interbank Association of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO IBA) to VEB.RF.
By tradition, the presiding bank offers a substantive agenda to the partners and organises a business programme to share experience and best practices. Specifically, a seminar for the IBA members will take place on Day 0 of the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi in February 2020, and the BRICS and SCO Joint Financial Forum is scheduled for July 2020.
The agenda proposed by VEB.RF as the presiding bank features topics such as inclusive growth through financing for high-quality infrastructure, and strategic partnership to pursue together the UN Sustainable Development Goals. VEB.RF proposes that its partners should continue expanding the use of national currencies, update the database of joint projects, and find common risk assessment approaches. The agenda also includes discussions on the implementation of new financial instruments such as project financing guarantees.
VEB.RF’s presidency will pay particular attention to developing infrastructure and creating an advanced urban economy. Accelerating urban development is now a key driver of economic growth. VEB.RF is ready to share its expertise and discuss the partners’ experience in this area.
VEB.RF’s Chairman Igor Shuvalov said: “The presidency of the SCO IBA is an important mission for VEB.RF. We believe that our main task is to promote development in Greater Eurasia. It is also important to take into account all integration processes: the creation of the Eurasian Economic Community, the Belt and Road Initiative, and efforts of the Eurasian Development Bank, the New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Mutual trade and investment, along with joint projects, require closer financial cooperation. We will work together with our partners to contribute to creating a common economic space and developing top-tier infrastructure from the Pacific to the Atlantic.”
For information: The SCO’s Agreement on Interbank Cooperation (Association) was signed on 26 October 2005.
SCO IBA member banks: Development Bank of Kazakhstan, RSK Bank of Kyrgyzstan, China Development Bank, VEB.RF, Amonatbonk State Savings Bank of Tajikistan, National Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Foreign Economic Activity, Habib Bank Limited (Pakistan), India Infrastructure Finance Company.
SCO IBA observers: Eurasian Development Bank, Belarusbank, Development Bank of Mongolia.
VEB.RF issued short-term bonds in additional placements to companies and corporations on 26, 27 and 28 June 2019.
The Bank raised c. 21.54 billion roubles, including 10.50 billion roubles from bonds with a maturity of 14 days and a coupon of 7.30% p.a., 0.04 billion roubles from bonds with a maturity of 21 days and a coupon of 7.29% p.a., and 11.00 billion roubles from bonds with a maturity of 28 days and a coupon of 7.28% p.a.
The par value of one bond is 1,000 roubles. The bonds were sold at 100% of their par value. The coupon is payable at maturity.
The arrangers of the bond issue are Gazprombank and Svyaz-Bank.
The bonds are on the Moscow Exchange’s Quotation List Level 1. The depository is National Settlement Depository.
VEB.RF Supervisory Board Considers VEB’s Involvement in Three New Investment Projects Totalling About RUB50 Billion
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev chaired a meeting of the VEB.RF Supervisory Board at the company’s new office in Vozdvizhenka Street. In his opening remarks he said: “I have signed an ordinance to establish the amounts of the state corporation’s paid-in and callable capital. It is a new mechanism for increasing the capital of development institutions. We have never had it before. It has been devised by VEB and is now fully usable. This is the part of the share capital that can be provided when investment resources are required. We expect to allocate up to 300 billion roubles for this purpose in the medium term.”
The Supervisory Board also considered VEB.RF’s involvement in three new investment projects designed by the reorganised team. The total project value approximates to RUB50 billion. VEB.RF’s expected commitment is RUB26.7 billion.
One of the projects aims to build a new-generation shuttle tanker of 69,000 deadweight tonnes with improved ice performance and manoeuvring characteristics. The Arc6 ice-class tanker is designed to navigate without an icebreaker escort through 1.3-metre-thick ice. It will be used for oil transportation in the Russian Arctic. Vnesheconombank is to invest 18.5 billion roubles in the project.
Two projects in the chemicals sector will be implemented via the Project Financing Factory. VEB is the operator of the Factory. Gazprombank acts as VEB’s financial partner in these two deals.
One of the two projects aims to build a production facility with an annual capacity of 140,000 tonnes of K-grade sulphuric acid and 360,000 tonnes of refined oleum at the KuibyshevAzot production site in Tolyatti. The total investments are estimated at RUB6.3 billion. VEB.RF’s commitment is RUB3.8 billion.
The other project is the Phase 3 construction of a production facility with an annual capacity of 500,000 tonnes of methanol in the Tula Region. The total project value is 22 billion roubles. The project initiator is Schekinoazot. VEB.RF is prepared to invest RUB4.5 billion.
Furthermore, the Supervisory Board reviewed the company’s new business model 2024 to ensure effective risk management and smooth operation in the near five years. In compliance with the business model, VEB does not compete with commercial banks and uses various instruments to participate in projects (guarantees, loans, and equity financing).
The Supervisory Board also addressed the issues of enhancing corporate governance.
InfraVEB (part of the VEB Group) will provide financial support for public-private partnership projects in the Kursk Region, InfraVEB CEO Dmitry Tvardovsky said to a meeting of the Council on Investment Climate Improvement and Investor Relations.
“Project investment without public budget funds is high on InfraVEB’s list of priorities; therefore, we are willing to support the preparation of PPP projects intended for the Kursk Region,” Tvardovsky said. Above all, this concerns municipal economy development projects under concession agreements.
The meeting focused on the Kursk Region’s investment potential, opportunities to carry out investment projects and investment climate improvement.
InfraVEB is part of the VEB Group. The company prepares and supports early-stage investment projects without public investment and provides support for investment- and operation-stage projects. As specified in the Memorandum on Financial Policies of VEB.RF, developing the country’s infrastructure and freeing economic growth from infrastructural constraints are a priority.
Interest-Free Loans Backed by VEB.RF and RSMB Corporation: Monotowns Fund to Finance Investment Projects for One-Factory Towns
Investors will be able to get far greater financial backing from the Monotowns Development Fund. As resolved by the Supervisory Board of the Fund, loan maturities will be extended from 8 to 15 years, the Fund’s maximum share in financing for a project will increase from 40 to 80% of the project value, while the Fund’s minimum share in financing for an investment project will decrease from 100 to 10 million roubles. The time required to examine documents submitted by project initiators will be reduced from 65 to 35 business days.
Any investment project worth 250 million roubles or less financed by the Fund will be eligible for an interest-free loan, provided that collateral is only bank guarantees and/or surety bonds issued by RSMB Corporation/SME Bank and/or guarantees issued by VEB.RF.
The Supervisory Board of the Fund approved several other decisions. For instance, changes were made to the co-financing procedure for expenses incurred by Russian regions and municipalities to carry out construction and/or rehabilitation projects for infrastructural facilities in single-industry towns. Applications for such co-financing can now be submitted to the Fund electronically.
It is intended that the decisions will increase the number of investment projects with potential financing from the Fund, will expand regional coverage and will provide greater support for small and medium-sized businesses to promote municipal economy development projects for single-industry towns.
The meeting of the Supervisory Board approved the Fund’s co-financing for the investment project to rehabilitate the existing production of terephthalic acid at POLIEF in Blagoveshchensk, Bashkortostan. The Fund will lend 1 billion roubles at 5% p.a. for 8 years. POLIEF is a subsidiary of SIBUR. The project is intended to rehabilitate the existing production of terephthalic acid, primary feedstock used to make modern plastic packaging for fluid foods. The project is expected to increase output to 350,000 tonnes per year. POLIEF is Russia’s biggest producer of terephthalic acid and polyethylene terephthalate.
The Monotowns Development Fund is a not-for-profit organisation founded by VEB in 2014. The Fund is a national development institution whose activities are focused on creating the necessary conditions for new jobs and investment in one-factory municipalities, along with improvements to the urban environment. The Memorandum on Financial Policies of VEB.RF specifies that the development of one-factory towns, including building their infrastructure and industrial facilities, is a high priority.
Heads of Development Institutions Meet to Discuss Primorie Investment Projects
The heads of VEB.RF, Russian Export Center, Russian Small and Medium Business Corporation, the Far East Development Fund and DOM.RF visited Vladivostok to discuss the implementation of investment and infrastructure projects in the Primorie Territory.
The meeting participants paid attention to the region’s export potential and noted the necessity of promoting small and medium-sized businesses in the Primorie Territory to unlock its potential to the fullest extent. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Primorie Territory administration and the local business community.
The meeting was started by VEB.RF Chairman Igor Shuvalov speaking about the coordinated work of development institutions on comprehensive solutions for regional pressing problems. “We, the four organisations, satisfy the needs of businesses from micro enterprises all the way through to major companies and ensure the interaction with regional banks, our major nationwide banks. We would like to understand: what is your sentiment, how do you think we can cooperate. We will reply with our definite proposals,” Igor Shuvalov said.
The VEB.RF Chairman underlined that, with a long-time presence in the region, DOM.RF was involved in several housing projects, which were to be discussed by the company’s CEO Alexander Plutnik during his visit to Vladivostok. According to Shuvalov, RSMB Corporation has also ambitious goals in the Primorie Territory, and its activities will include developing the local urban environment. Igor Shuvalov additionally noted Vladivostok’s key role in developing regional export and emphasised Russian Export Center’s great efforts on this agenda.
The importance of export development was also emphasised by Primorie Territory Vice-Governor Konstantin Bogdanenko. “It is reasonable to hold a forum for exporters in Vladivostok and make it an annual event oriented to Northeast Asian markets,” Bogdanenko said.
VEB.RF and Primorie Territory Authorities Agree to Cooperate to Improve Infrastructure Quality
Vladivostok hosted a meeting between Primorie Territory Governor Oleg Kozhemyako and VEB.RF Chairman Igor Shuvalov. They discussed potential investment projects for the region and entered into a cooperation agreement. Specifically, VEB.RF expressed its willingness to carry out projects to improve urban environment quality with the extensive involvement of development institutions: VEB-Leasing, the Far East and Baikal Region Development Fund, DOM.RF, Russian Export Center, Russian Small and Medium Business Corporation etc.
VEB-Leasing is willing to support the project to renew urban passenger transport, which will raise speed, safety and passenger traffic, including creating a convenient environment for physically handicapped people.
Financing for the construction of heat supply and water treatment facilities in the Primorie Territory is a priority for VEB-Leasing. The socio-economic effect of such projects is evident: a reduced number of accidents, an improved environmental situation, the locals provided with adequate utility services. This will all directly affect the improvement of quality of life.
“Primorie is known to you in connection with the Russky Island and Vladivostok projects. I hope that the plans related to large-scale urban development and investment projects will be completed as scheduled with your help. It is important for us to have such a reliable partner in the region, a partner that understands the situation and knows the particularities of mechanisms to provide support for small and medium-sized businesses and invest in the road sector. This is extremely important for our region,” Oleg Kozhemyako said.
According to Igor Shuvalov, the Primorie Territory has huge potential; work is under way on planning several regional projects involving major Russian companies. The VEB.RF Chairman emphasised that Russian President Vladimir Putin paid particular attention to Primorie investment projects.
“The Primorie Territory is home to us. Today, I am not alone in Vladivostok: I am a representative of VEB.RF and other development institutions, which are in close cooperation with DOM.RF, Russian Small and Medium Business Corporation and Russian Export Center. We have a big agenda; we visited today Bolshoy Kamen, discussed additional orders for merchant vessels, and will definitely look at the infrastructure built in Vladivostok for an APEC summit. Some facilities need additional investment; specifically, waste treatment facilities. We will consider building a highway. Residential construction is a priority; we know that there are problems, and DOM.RF CEO Alexander Plutnik will give special attention to this agenda,” Igor Shuvalov said.
“It is very important for us to have such a credible partner with experience and expertise. I am confident that our joint projects will benefit Primorie and Vladivostok, not only as the regional centre but also, I hope, the future capital of the Far East,” said Oleg Kozhemyako.
VEB.RF has invested 12 billion roubles in the development of the Primorie Territory. Additionally, the Far East Development Fund has been involved in investment totalling 41.7 billion roubles in regional investment projects, including 8.5 billion roubles of the Fund’s approved investments. As of November 2018, actual investment was 6.3 billion roubles.
VEB is considering Primorie projects in the chemical, petrochemical, shipbuilding, manufacturing, port logistics, transport and related industries. Particular attention is given to urban development projects.
During a visit to Vladivostok on 29 and 30 November, VEB.RF Chairman Igor Shuvalov, together with the heads of Russian Small and Medium Business Corporation, DOM.RF, Russian Export Center and the Far East Development Fund, will discuss the region’s priority projects, see Vladivostok’s urban infrastructure facilities and meet the local business community.