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A new breed of industrial group

In Russia, large financial-industrial groups exist alongside a new breed of commercially-minded and successful industrial groups that have made their money by more traditional and honest means.

Roland Nash

Until the 1998 crisis big business in Russia was all about the financial-industrial groups (FIGs). Several died in the crisis, but the survivors still play an important role and have been forced to change their ways. At the same time a new breed of commercially-minded and successful industrial groups, the new industrial groups (NIGs), which have made their money by more traditional (and honest) means, have joined them.

"There is a big legacy issue," says Erik Kraus, head of strategy at NIKoil, a Russian investment bank. "It will take time for foreign investors to accept these groups, even if they are given the chance."

After five years of suffering at the hands of the FIGs - many of which defaulted on billions of dollars of foreign loans - investors remain wary of big Russian business and many of the old faces are still there.

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