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Restructured Renaissance Capital picks its battles

A cost-cutting drive and a dearth of deal making at home have made for a turbulent few years at RenCap. But now the Russian economy is recovering, the investment bank is rediscovering its appetite for expansion – at home and abroad.


The last five years have seen a lot of change at Renaissance Capital. Since the departure of its legendary founder, Stephen Jennings, Russia’s best-known investment bank has had its headcount slashed, shuttered a clutch of global offices and opened a few new ones, and cycled through senior management at a dizzying pace – all against a backdrop of sanctions and recession in its home market. 

What has emerged is a smaller, more modest business than either the emerging markets giant envisaged by Jennings or the emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa specialist proposed by Mikhail Prokhorov’s investment vehicle Onexim when it took over Renaissance in late 2012. Operations in Asia have long since been abandoned, while a more recent push into the Middle East appears to have fizzled out. 

Even on its home turf, Renaissance has lost ground. Once the go-to house for Russian equity placements, the firm managed to secure just a handful of the dozens of mandates that emerged last year on the back of an improving economy and rising oil prices. Similarly, a once-mighty M&A franchise has all but disappeared.