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East Capital: Fund plugs into power sector reforms

Specialist emerging European fund manager East Capital is just one example of a foreign investment firm banking on the success of the reforms in the Russian power sector.

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The market-led changes are designed to spur investment in a sector that outgoing president Vladimir Putin says will require Rb12 trillion ($13.21 billion) if the country is to keep up with surging demand and boost production by two-thirds by 2020. At the end of 2007, the Stockholm-based asset management group launched the €111 million East Capital Power Utilities Fund, which will target investment opportunities in the power utilities industry in Russia and other CIS countries such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Georgia. East Capital contributed €81 million to the new fund with the €31 million balance coming from Orkla Financial Investments, a subsidiary of Norwegian industrial conglomerate Orkla that boasts specialist knowledge related to power production, trading and renewable energy. The fund will invest in listed and unlisted companies across the various sub-sectors of the industry – including electricity generation, distribution and services. Aivars Abromavicius, a Moscow-based partner at East Capital, says that a sub-sector of the Russian power industry that is particularly attractive is repair and maintenance services, which is set to be a prime beneficiary of the massive capital expenditure programmes necessary to upgrade power stations to cope with increasing demand.