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Banking

On the trail of investment opportunities in the Wild East

Central Asia, a stronghold for dictators, poverty and corruption, doesn’t at first glance seem to offer fertile ground for high investment returns. But this is precisely what some of the region’s more intrepid investors hope to find and profit from. Kathryn Wells spends a week on the road with two hedge fund managers, on the lookout for opportunities on this new frontier.

Bids and offers in no-man’s-land

Have fund, will travel

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THE ROUTE TO the Kant Cement-Slate Plant from Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, is a bumpy 20 kilometres. And our car, which carries foreign number plates, is likely to attract unwelcome attention from the notorious traffic police, known by their Russian acronym GAI, stationed along the route.

After some discussion about what’s best to do our host has agreed to send his SUV, bearing official government plates, to accompany us on our journey. We weave our way through the traffic at will, paying little attention to oncoming vehicles.

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