Vneshtorgbank signs memorandum with Italian investment institutions

Vneshtorgbank signed a memorandum on mutual understanding with SIMEST - the Italian Financial Institution for the development and promotion of Italian business abroad, and the major Italian investment bank Mediobanca. The parties agreed to make joint efforts to ensure the financing of Italian investment projects in Russia, including the establishment of joint ventures for a total amount of EUR1.5bn, head of Vneshtorgbank Andrey Kostin declared at a ceremony of signing the document today. It is written in the memorandum, that the sides may apply to the SACE Italian institute for foreign trade insurances for help, when necessary. The insurance will be provided under guarantees of the Russian bank and will require no government guarantees.

According to Kostin, the first step towards the implementation of the memorandum is a 300m-euro general credit agreement to finance the export of investment products from Italy to Russia for a ten-year period. At present, another ten projects for around EUR200m have been submitted to Vneshtorbank, Kostin noted. In particular, the bank is considering the possibility of crediting Russian petrochemical, construction and food enterprises.

The first project of this kind will be the introduction of a credit line to Gazcom for the amount of EUR10.3m for five or six years. The money will be spent on purchasing high-tech equipment from Italy-based Alenia Spazio to build two Yamal-200 cutting-edge communications satellites.

Answering the question concerning the possibility of converting Russia's debt to Italy, the head of Vneshtorgbank remarked that such possibility would be discussed only "after signing a corresponding memorandum by the governments of the two states." At the same time, the official accepted that this document will be signed in December 2002.

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