France honors Saudi Arabia’s Russian investment partner

Arab News, 10.11.2018
  • PIF has invested $2 billion in joint projects with the Russians
  • RDIFwas prominent participant in recent FII event in Riyadh

One of the earliest joint investment projects between Saudi Arabia and Russia has been recognized by the French government as an example of cross-border “economic diplomacy”.

Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of Russian sovereign wealth fund, Russia Direct Investment Fund — a major partner of the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund — has been honored by French President Emmanuel Macron for his contribution to Russia-France economic relations.

Dmitrievwas awarded the title of Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honour — the highest honor France can bestow — for promoting French companies in Russia as well as the entry of Russian companies into the French market.

One of the biggest investments in France by RIDF was the €250 million ($285 million) injection in Arc International, the global glassware company that owns French homewares brand Luminarc. PIF was a major investor in that joint venture along with other sovereign wealth funds (SWFs)

Dmitrievtold Arab News: “The award from the French President recognizes the role SWFs are playing in the modern world, building bridges and long-term partnerships between countries in different regions of the world though economic diplomacy.”

“In that context our partnership with PIF as well as other funds becomes increasingly important. The investment in Arc was one of our first joint projects with PIF. It demonstrated the cross-border reach of our partnership, which was beneficial for French and Russian factory workers as well as for international investors,” he said.

The RDIF was a prominent participant at the recent PIF-sponsored Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, where plans were unveiled for a $500 million Saudi investment in a proposed three-way investment fund with Russian and Chinese sovereign investors, which will have $2.5 billion to invest in projects in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

PIF has currently invested $2 billion in joint projects with the Russians, and nine new projects are planned in energy, infrastructure and information technology.

Dmitrievsaid that over the next five years, RDIF intends to quadruple the volume of investment in the Russian-French investment platform, created jointly with CDC International Capital, the French public investment vehicle.

“This will enable us to surpass the record amount of foreign direct investment reached at the beginning of 2018, when the total amount of accumulated French direct investment in Russia reached $16.3 billion,” he said.

The Legion of Honor award was established by French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to recognize outstanding service to the country. It will be formally presented to Dmitriev at an award ceremony later this month.