20 Ноября 2017
South China Morning Post
Momentum going strong for Chinese deals in Russia.
Investors target energy and commodities sectors as relations between both countries grow closer.
The recent acquisition spree by Chinese firms in Russian energy and commodities companies is set to continue into next year as relations between the two countries grow closer while the "Belt and Road Initiative" gathers steam, according to a senior banker at the Moscow-based investment firm VTB Capital.
The rebound in commodity prices from industry cycle lows was also helping further cement the ties between the two, said Alex Metherell, co-head of global banking at VTB Сapital, the investment banking unit of Russian government-controlled VTB Bank.
Levels, however, are still trading significantly below the lofty heights of a few years ago, making it easier for buyers and sellers to agree on a price for complex ¬assets and projects.
"We have definitely seen increased cross-border investments by Chinese firms in Russia in the past 18 to 24 months," Metherell told the Post in an exclusive interview. "Strategic asset owners in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia are increasingly coming to China, too, as their first port of call before going elsewhere in search of long-term investors."
There have been six major purchases by Chinese corporates in Russian firms so far this year, involving a total investment of US$9.1 billion, up from US$1.1 billion last year and US$2.7 billion in 2015, according to data compiled by Dealogic.
The largest deals over the past decade between the two sides have predominantly been in the oil and gas sector, made by state-owned Chinese buyers.
Resource-rich Russia has been looking for investments in Asia, mainly in China, since the West imposed sanctions on its businesses, individuals and officials due to its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in 2014.
The country ranks among the world's top producers of oil, natural gas, nickel, gold, diamonds, platinum and palladium, while China is the world's largest commodities consumer and importer.
"I expect next year to be exciting for [deal] announcements - a product of increasing dialogue [and due diligence] in the past two years," Metherell said.
His investment bank is currently advising a Russian miner of a steel-related commodity on selling some of its assets, which was being studied by five Chinese firms, he said.
Recent examples of Sino-Russian deals include privately held CEFC China Energy's US$8 billion purchase of a 14.16 per cent stake in state-backed Rosneft Oil from commodities trading major Glencore and Qatar Investment Authority in September.
VTB Capital advised CEFC on the deal
Asked if the investment bank could provide financing for CEFC's purchase and sister firm AnAn Group's US$500 million investment in an initial public offering of energy and metals major EN+, Metherell said only that his firm "has been in discussions to line up options to help Chinese acquirers finance their deals".
VTB Bank is a major lender and minority shareholder in EN+, which is majority-owned by oligarch Oleg Deripaska and has used most of its listing proceeds to repay a loan owed to VTB.
Under a 2013 agreement, the investment bank has the right to sell its stake in EN+ to Deripaska's firms before December next year.
Those firms would use part of the proceeds to buy VTB Bank's stake, the listing prospectus said.