- The loans and guarantees given by VEB.RF in three quarters of 2021 have totalled about 535 billion roubles and 176.3 billion roubles respectively;
- VEB.RF’s primary investment focus was on industry, infrastructure, exports and SMEs.
VEB.RF lent about 535 billion roubles in the first nine months of 2021, which is 2.5 times more than in 2020 (215.1 billion roubles).
The total amount of financing provided by VEB.RF in nine months of 2021 for industrial and infrastructure projects including urban economy was 475.3 billion roubles and more than 24 billion roubles respectively. More than 26 billion roubles was allocated to finance Russia’s high-technology exports. Specifically, VEB.RF launched the financing of a whole range of transactions for the supply of Russian-made equipment to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
Under the new low-interest lending programme to provide businesses with 3% loans aimed at helping companies to retain their employees and recover businesses, VEB.RF issued surety bonds totalling 104.6 billion roubles to commercial banks.
Nikolay Tsekhomsky, First Deputy Chairman and Member of the Management Board, VEB.RF:
“Since the beginning of 2021, VEB.RF has financed 28 new projects including the largest industrial facilities, such as the Kingisepp-based ammonia and carbamide production facility, the steel mill construction in Vyksa, liquefied natural gas production by Arctic LNG 2, the development project for the Korbalikhinskoye polymetal deposit in the Altai Territory, and infrastructure projects including the construction of airport terminals in Novy Urengoy and Novosibirsk, and the Ufa East Exit. VEB.RF is supporting renovation of the tram network in Taganrog, with first new trams already in operation. The construction of a tram depo has started for the Verkhniaya Pyshma-Yekaterinburg route.”
VEB.RF is focused on the socio-economic impact of financed projects. A very significant project is an ethane-containing gas processing plant in Ust-Luga. The project will be the largest gas-processing production facility in Russia bringing significant impetus to the development of the Leningrad Region and the neighbouring municipalities. With the participation of VEB.RF, a new comfortable housing estate will be built for the plant employees in close vicinity to the plant. The first tranche has already been allocated for the pre-investment phase of the project.”
According to the new strategy, VEB.RF Group’s five key focus areas include:
- Major industrial projects. Above all, this concerns export-oriented projects improving the competitiveness and expanding the use of breakthrough technology;
- Infrastructure and urban economy;
- Small and medium-sized businesses;
- Information technology and innovation.
VEB.RF Chief Legal Officer Igor Krasnov: Modern Russian Arbitration Centres Are Best Dispute Resolution Platforms
The conference focused on the five year reform of the Russian arbitration institute and moderated by Head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Aleksander Shokhin was held as part of the Russian Business Week. The participants discussed the current state of Russian arbitration system and future measures aimed at its development and improvement of the respective legislation and enforcement practices.
VEB.RF’s Chief Legal Officer Igor Krasnov noted increased legal risks related to dispute resolution involving major Russian businesses in foreign jurisdictions and increased protectionism demonstrated by legal systems of certain states.
An arbitration court represents a single judiciary, and a claimant having an arbitration award may submit it to a competent jurisdiction for approval and obtaining a writ of execution. In addition, an arbitration proceeding provides for the selection of an arbitrator in accordance with set procedures. Therefore, dispute resolution by arbitration is much more effective, expeditious and confidential.
Igor Krasnov offered to use Russian arbitration centres as modern and independent forums to resolve complicated legal and economic disputes.
“We believe that disputes between Russian counterparties should be settled by negotiations and, where necessary, through mediation. If a dispute cannot be resolved amicably, then a modern Russian arbitration centre could become the best platform for dispute settlement and finding a compromise with partners and clients,” Igor Krasnov said.
He also noted that VEB.RF had set a legal framework governing interaction between development institutions and Russian arbitration courts, and determined the priority of arbitration in VEB.RF’s standard loan and collateral documentation.
“VEB.RF’s clients are advised to use arbitral clauses allowing them to have obvious advantages of arbitration proceeding: expeditiousness, thoroughness, democratic nature, progressiveness and high arbitration standards.
The second edition of the Finance in Common Summit (FiCS) ended in Rome today. VEB.RF Senior Banker Sergei Storchak told the summit about VEB.RF’s products and priorities contributing towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those related to promoting the green finance market and facilitating energy transition in Russia.
VEB.RF is implementing its own transformation strategy to give a sharp focus to protecting the environment, improving the well-being of people and communities, and introducing best practices in governance,” Sergei Storchak said. “According to the IDFC methodology, green projects already make up more than a third of our portfolio, and we intend to increase their proportion. We are active in financing electric transport and clean energy sources, and helping Russian manufacturers to switch to low-carbon technology.”
According to Sergei Storchak, VEB.RF has a government mandate to develop Russia’s national taxonomy for green projects. Last month, the corresponding document was approved by the Russian Prime Minister. “Russia became one of the few countries with their own national taxonomies,” he said. “We have already started promoting our taxonomy domestically and will present it to the international community at the COP26 conference in November. It is 95% compliant with the new EU taxonomy, and we hope it will meet with a positive reception from the business and expert communities.”
In his speech, Sergei Storchak also told the summit of public development banks about inequalities in access to financing for decarbonisation and energy transition in different countries. VEB.RF is currently subject to restrictions on long-term borrowing from the international market. “Climate issues and related processes have no respect for political boundaries,” he said. “Limiting the ability of VEB.RF and other Russian institutions to raise capital for decarbonisation means putting obstacles in the way of the Paris Agreement. We believe that all restrictions of this kind should be lifted, at least in the case of financial instruments and projects recognised as green in accordance with internationally recognised taxonomies and verification systems. We are open to working together with the coalition members on these issues.”
The Finance in Common Summit (FiCS) is a large international event organised by a coalition of 530 development institutions from all over the world. The goal of the FiCS coalition is to reinforce the global financial architecture towards sustainable development, with public development banks playing a central role. The coalition brings together not only development institutions but also key stakeholders such as governments, regulators, the United Nations, private investors, civil society, academia and central banks. The inaugural Summit was held in Paris in November 2020.
VEB.RF Officially Starts Selecting Verifiers of Sustainable Financial Instruments
VEB.RF has started selecting organisations to be included in the permanent list of verifiers of sustainable financial instruments. The process was launched in accordance with Ordinance of the Russian Government No. 3024-r of 18 November 2020 and Resolution of the Russian Government No. 1587 of 21 September 2021. The launch of the verifier selection process is a key stage of implementing the mechanism for sustainable financial instruments verification, and it represents the full-fledged launch of the green finance market in Russia.
From now on an organisation may submit to VEB.RF an application for the inclusion in the list of verifiers. The applicant should confirm its compliance with verifier requirements in accordance with Resolution No. 1587 in respect of having sufficient experience in conducting assessments, adequately qualified experts, effective business processes, an organisational structure that allows the applicant to verify financial instruments, verification methodologies, a positive business reputation, and compliance with minimum business duration requirement (1 year).
At the current stage, in order to submit an application for the inclusion in the list of verifiers, an organisation should fill in the application and questionnaire templates posted on VEB.RF’s website and attach supporting documents. An application with attached documents should be routinely sent by e-mail at email@example.com and officially by mail to VEB.RF’s address. VEB.RF is currently developing a digital platform for sustainable financial instruments that will automate the process of submitting applications. VEB.RF should consider applications within 60 business days.
Before the permanent list of verifiers is made, the temporary list of verifiers posted on VEB.RF’s website applies.
VEB.RF representatives highlighted the implementation of a Yakut SIB project related to assisted living during the meeting of the project committee chaired by Vice-President Olga Balabkina. According to Yakut-Sakha Information Agency, the repair of the assisted living facility was completed in the second quarter, young people with mental health disabilities were successfully adapting to their new home, acquiring new skills and obtaining employment.
The project committee members discussed the stages of the social impact project in the area of social services.
“This is a key quarter. The first stage was preparatory, while the second one was marked by important events. The assisted living facility was repaired and furnished with new furniture. From 1 August 2021 through 1 September 2021, social beneficiaries were moving into the building and are currently occupying the premises. All arrangements have been timely completed,” Director of VEB.RF’s Russian Government Agent Office Denis Bokov said.
He noted that the stage was considered important due both to the repair completion and the people’s adaptation. For instance, the survey results show that the young people find their living conditions quite satisfactory.
“Additionally, 16 staff members were recruited including home carers, psychologists and social workers. All of them have the required qualifications, and 12 people received off-the-job training in St. Petersburg. It’s a pleasure to note that the adaptation process is developing rapidly, and six people have already obtained employment. Thus, we can say as early as now that there has been no significant deviations from the planned schedule. In the third quarter we will start working with home bred children, and we acknowledge the importance of parental involvement.
Yakut Minister of Labour and Social Development Elena Volkova informed the participants about maintenance services, renovation works and project implementation plans.
According to Project Manager of Saint Petersburg–based association of disabled children’s parents GAOORDI Alexey Ignatenko, the tenants accommodated in that quarter were category 1 beneficiaries. The rest of the families also had contacts with project managers.
“Planned individual and group adaptational training is under way. We have also organised online meetings with tenants of our facilities. Young people were able to communicate, become acquainted and give each other gifts. We are planning to arrange such meetings in future, since they give the positive emotional backing these people need.
According to Head of the Assisting Living Service Lena Denisova, the young people have good labour potential. An individual employment plan was prepared for each beneficiary.
“Young people develop social and domestic skills every day. They do powerlifting, go swimming, practise athletics and improve the level of computer literacy at a Book 0.3 specialised library. Our specialists also hold special events, help young people to develop cooking skills and handle money. We will continue to teach them and help them to better adapt to life,” Lena Denisova said.
In conclusion, Managing Director of VEB.RF’s Russian Government Agent Office Mikhail Alashkevich gave a positive opinion on the project implementation in the Republic of Sakha.
“We are now at the very beginning. It is especially important to maintain the results. I believe that this project is about the future, about people who haven’t ever discussed their future before and who are not only discussing it now, but also translating their dreams into reality. We are pleased that we could increase the project scope and attract additional people,” Mikhail Alashkevich said.
As a reminder, the first assisted living care home was opened in Yakutia. The project initiated by Yakut authorities is aimed at introducing new social services in the region for people with mental health disabilities that are alternative to specialised in-patient facilities.
The programme is part of the SIB agenda initiated in Russia by VEB.RF. Currently, more than 1,100 people with mental health disabilities are living in special care institutions in Yakutia. The project is designed to replace in-patient treatment with home care, so that people with disabilities could habituate themselves to living at home or in conditions close to living in family, and unlock their labour potential.