Friday evening, Vladimir Putin at the St. Petersburg forum was devoted entirely to foreign investors. His first attention to Italian businessmen: they were invited to attend a dinner with Putin and the Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi. The meeting was attended by about 30 representatives of major Italian companies.
After lunch followed the ceremony for the signing of framework agreements: “Rosneft” has agreed with Eni for cooperation in the Black sea shelf, NOVATEK and “Mail of Russia” has signed the purchase agreement with Italian equipment. “On the sidelines of the forum with the participation of businesses from Italy have signed contracts totaling more than 1.3 billion euros,” – said after the signing of all documents Putin.
Immediately after the meeting at a joint press conference with Renzi, Putin even said that Russia is ready to cancel the first retaliatory restrictive measures against the European Union. However, the caveat that this will only happen in the case of the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
Renzi, answering questions of journalists, stated that it would support, for example, return to the gas pipeline project “South stream”, which was stopped in December 2014 due to disagreements with the EU.
The Italians came out from the meeting with Putin and Renzi in high spirits. “To convince us to invest in Russia your President was not necessary, – said the head of the steel company Danieli & C Gianpietro Benedetti. – Our countries have been cooperating for many years. My company, for example, working in Russia for 17 years, companies such as Eni – much longer. We have a great experience. Now we are trying to recover the import, to find a solution for the continuation of the business, which would not violate the sanctions. It is certainly difficult, but we see a good friendly attitude to us”.
“We are now moving from principle Made in Italy to Made with Italy, that is, the development of Italian business, but in your territory, – shares his observations of the head of the Moscow Bureau of news Agency Rai mark Innaro. – Thus, on the one hand, we bypass sanctions, on the other – to help implement your plans for import substitution. We give you what you need to help you change your economy, which is still based on natural gas and oil.”
Investors from other countries are less fortunate – the President meeting with them was scheduled for 18.30, but in the end was delayed by almost two hours. “It’s rude to keep them waiting so long,” complained one of the guests. – Whatever the President said, this is unlikely to be worthy of the two lost hours of my time.
Just to meet the Russian President was invited almost fifty of the first persons of the largest international companies. When the press-conference with participation of Putin and Renzi was the end of the queue to enter the next door lined up the head of ExxonMobil Rex Tillerson, CEO of BP, Robert Given, the head of Total Patrick Pouyanne, head of the project Hyperloop Dirk Ahlborn and others. Then hall went to former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, assistant to the President Andrey Belousov and the head of RSPP Andrey Shokhin. One of the latest appeared first Vice-Premier Igor Shuvalov.
Before the meeting, one investor said he was waiting for whether Putin will manage it to surprise, by admitting that I’m already pretty tired, waiting for this meeting.
The conversation of Putin with the heads of the largest companies in the world lasted about one and a half hours. At the meeting of President Putin with foreign investors discussed the business potential of Russia, was raised in the industry from pharmaceuticals to energy, told reporters CEO of BP, Bob Dudley. “Putin’s speech was to ensure that all will be well. We were told that if we want to do business in Russia will help us, the government is very friendly to business. Many smart people gathered in this room, and they agreed with what was said by the President,” – said after the meeting investor Jim Rogers. According to him, before dinner, he was a little nervous that Russia is once again becoming more closed country, but now not so concerned. “Putin said the things we wanted to hear from him and was convincing,” he says.
The meeting discussed various projects that could be implemented in Russia, said the Hyperloop CEO Dirk Ahlborn. “Russia is open variety of new projects is the main message of the meeting. Putin was happy to see many foreign companies, whose management came, in spite of the sanctions,” he says. The fact that investors waited for a meeting more than two hours, Albarn commented: “I have heard that this is normal, he (Putin) is a very busy man, it is necessary to wait.”
The aliens themselves offered Putin their projects, said after meeting the head of RSPP Alexander Shokhin. “People with serious projects to come. The Chinese, Japanese, Americans. The Americans say it is better for Russia to implement the same hyperloop not find”, – he said. In addition to high-tech industries, discussed the projects in the traditional sectors: in pharmaceuticals, energy, retail, listed Shokhin.
The investment climate, according to Shokhin, was discussed through the prism of business security. Mainly foreigners concerned about excessive regulation. Putin promised to solve the issue.
“I’m investing in Russia for 10 years. I see good prospects for business development here. To be present in Russia is good,” he said after meeting the owner, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the German company Knorr-Bremse AG Heinz Hermann Thiele, collaborating with KAMAZ. “The President was convincing, we really appreciate what he gave us as much time talking to us about politics in Russia, it was a great evening,” said Jim Ampli from Caterpillar. “It was a very open, transparent, interesting and stimulating discussion, – Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nestle, Peter Brabeck. We have invested in Russia for many years and continue to do it.”
Putin is very alive to all ideas and suggestions, he showed openness to new projects and ideas, said the President of the Confederation of Indian industry Noushad Forbes: “Everyone understands that the world is experiencing difficult economic times. He said what investors wanted to hear: how to resolve problems and difficulties”.