Russia: Saving lives on the Road of Death
As recent bridge collapses in the US and China illustrated, the difference between good and bad infrastructure is a matter of life and death. Nowhere is that more true than in Russia, where Soviet-era infrastructure is now creaking under the strain of coping with the increasing demands of the country’s booming market economy.
Earlier this year, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced that fixing and expanding the country’s infrastructure was a national priority and will benefit from ten of billions of petrodollars. How and where that money will be spent is now a matter of fervent interest, with both public and private sector bodies looking to be prime beneficiaries of the Kremlin’s largesse.
The potential gold rush has already attracted the attention of major global infrastructure players, with Australia’s Macquarie Bank announcing a link-up with leading Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital. Macquarie manages more than $49 billion of investments in infrastructure assets around the world in the energy, water, telecommunications and transportation sectors, delivering annualized returns of nearly 20% over the past decade.
Under the auspices of a 50:50 joint venture called Macquarie Renaissance, the two firms are looking to develop an infrastructure advisory franchise alongside a fund management business.
"The Macquarie Renaissance partnership is uniquely placed to participate in the development of infrastructure opportunities in Russia and other CIS countries, in collaboration with the public sector and other stakeholders. We see significant opportunities in this market that we believe are well suited to our long-term infrastructure approach," says Jim Craig, head of the Macquarie Group in Europe.