Russia-China fund announces deals

Xinhua, 20.05.2014

SHANGHAI, May 20 (Xinhua) - A joint investment vehicle set up by Chinese and Russian sovereign wealth funds announced three deals on Tuesday in Shanghai that see it diversify into the service sectors in the two countries.

Nearly seven months after its 200-million-U.S.-dollar deal to acquire a 42-percent stake in Russia's second largest forest company, the Russian-China Investment Fund (RCIF) is eyeing opportunities to expand its investment into sectors such as logistics, health care and telecoms, according to Kirill Dmitriev, co-CEO of RCIF.

In addition, it will be pursuing projects in agriculture, energy and natural resources.

Under the new deal, RCIF will partner a Russian development fund to commit 400 million U.S. dollars in both equity and debt for the construction of a cross-border railway bridge, the first to span across China's border with Russia over Heilongjiang River, also known as Amur River in Russia.

"Railway border crossings in the region are currently operating close to maximum capacity," Dmitriev said. "The construction of a bridge across the river is an important step in modernizing Far East transport infrastructure and will help to prevent breakdowns in the regional transport network."

The fund also joined HOPU Investments in a deal to invest an undisclosed amount into Global Logistics Property, which operates logistic infrastructures in China, Japan and Brazil.

Dmitriev said the motive behind the deal is the expertise in logistics management, which will be useful when Russia develops its own logistics projects in the future.

The fund also teams up with Chinese conglomerate Vcanland to set up a new fund aimed at raising 800 million U.S. dollars to invest in tourism infrastructure and senior living communities in both Russia and China.

"We strongly believe that the robust momentum in bilateral tourism and the need for senior housing will create enormous investment opportunities in the related sectors, generating attractive returns for investors," Dmitriev said.

RCIF was founded in 2012, with China Investment Corporation and Russian Direct Investment Fund each contributing 1 billion U.S. dollars and is seeking commitments of up to 2 billion U.S. dollars from other institutional investors.

Official data showed that China's outbound direct investment to Russia surged 238.5 percent in the first four months this year, due to a low base during the same period in 2013.

China is Russia's largest trade partner. Bilateral trade between China and Russia was worth 89.21 billion U.S. dollars last year and is expected to hit 100 billion this year and 200 billion in 2020.