Giving a boost to the infrastructure sector in the country, Russia’s Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) in partnership with National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) will jointly invest USD 1 billion in diverse infrastructural areas like energy, hydro power, petrochemicals and transport, among others.
NIIF-RDIF will invest in 20 projects in the next three-four years, says Kirill Dmitriev, Chief Executive Officer of RDIF on the sidelines of the Brics summit event in Goa. The NIIF-RDIF joint fund worth USD 1 billion will lead to USD 10 billion worth of investments in India.
RDIF is also exploring opportunities in the tech sector and is actively looking at various hydro projects in India.
It is finalising projects to invest in with help from tie-ups with SBI
Below is the verbatim transcript of Kirill Dmitriev’s interview to Rituparna Bhuyan on CNBC-TV18.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the identified infra projects in India?
A: First of all we believe the creation of Russia-India investment fund is really very important outcome of discussions between President Putin and Prime Minister Modi and frankly investment and infrastructure are big themes of BRICS meetings that are happening here today. First of all we applaud the creation of National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) because we really needed a partner in India to work with a government backed partner and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is an example of such systems work because we were able to create and attract lots of capital into Russia by creation of RDIF and their confidence of NIIF will be able to attract lots of capital into India.
So, we are interested to invest in infrastructure and other sectors of Indian economy. We believe it provides huge opportunity in many Russian companies already invested and actually participating about those other projects that already has built two nuclear power plants and has build in two more. So, we will be targeting companies that are interested to work jointly in India in construction of energy facilities, including small hydro plants, in construction of other key infrastructure areas.
Q: We understand the way you guys work is that you bring in a Ruble and you then ensure that other investors put in about 10x that amount in the kind of projects that you participate in. So, going by your participation with this fund here how much project do you think you will be financing in the near term?
A: So, the USD 1 billion funds that we created will unleash about USD 10 billion of investment mostly into India because we will be bringing Russian companies to participate, Russian banks. Also I am sure Indian partners from private sector would want to participate and we already are looking at 20 different projects. Most of those projects do have a Russian component. So, it is a Russian companies that wants to come and invest in India, share its technology and really believes on the great Indian market. And we are looking at oil services, we are looking at petrochemicals. So, pretty much in a wide variety of sectors in India.
Q: So, while you are as of now focussing in the infrastructure sector would you also going forward look at participating in other sectors in India through other routes, not only through this fund?
A: Yes, and by the way we treat infrastructure very broadly because we believe that even petrochemicals and other things are part of energy infrastructure. So, we are not going to treat it very narrowly. Our goal is to have 15-20 investments done in the next 3-4 years to really showcase Russia-India cooperation to create growth stories in India. But we are also open to participate in all sorts of sectors of Indian economy, we really very much believe in technology sector that is growing very fast in another sectors as well.
Q: You have already participated in and have cooperation with certain Indian financial institutions. You have with IDFC and State Bank of India (SBI) and even Tata Power. How has this arrangement worked and what have you done till now as far as these three institutions are concerned?
A: We are very much fortunate to have those relationships and we are finalising some of the projects with them. When you have a new relationship in a new country sometimes it takes a longer time to get it up and running. For example even this NIIF fund has been three years in making. We had a lot of discussions etc. So, we are finalising several transactions actually not only in India but in Russia with those funds and we expect to announce them in the beginning of next year. All I can say is that a big area for us is a small hydrogenation which we believe Russia has huge expertise and India has huge potential. So, one of the first deals may be in that sector.