Emerging markets: Renaissance Capital rushes to broaden its horizons
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Emerging markets: Renaissance Capital rushes to broaden its horizons

Renaissance Capital’s ambition is to become the world’s pre-eminent emerging markets investment bank. The economic ties that link Asia, Africa and all the states of the former Soviet Union are a new focus. Can its clarity of purpose help RenCap usurp its global competitors? Elliot Wilson reports.

IT’S MID-AUGUST in Moscow and the city is going to hell. Forest and bog fires have shrouded the city in acrid smoke. Visibility is reduced to a hundred yards. Choking smog even permeates the underground rail system, infusing clothes and hair with the stench of toxic bonfire.

Forty-eight floors up at Naberezhnaya Tower Block C in northwestern Moscow, however, the view, in corporate terms at least, is almost starkly clear. These halls are owned by Renaissance Capital (RenCap), Russia’s leading investment bank – a company founded just 15 years ago yet already boasting assets and alliances that span the globe, from Hong Kong and Mumbai to eastern Siberia and sub-Saharan Africa.

RenCap specializes by entrenching itself into fast-growing, spectacularly high-margin sovereigns described as emerging or frontier nations. It rapidly develops contacts, embraces local business norms and becomes firm friends with politicians, legislators and business chiefs.

Next, it works hard to match a need for working capital in one, often resource-rich country – typically in Africa or the former Soviet Union – with hard cash provided by global asset managers or rising resource-hungry powers such as India and China.

The process seems simple – and indeed it is.

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