Russia's Spief forum yields $15bn worth of deals in 2016

By bne IntelliNews June 20, 2016

The St Petersburg International Economic Forum (Spief 2016) saw 332 formal agreements with Russian companies worth RUB1 trillion ($15.4bn) signed, TASS reported on June 18, citing presidential advisor Anton Kobyakov.

Notably, despite the continuing sanctions regime against Russia, the official deal count than tripled that of last year's forum, which saw 205 agreements worth $4.52bn, marking a shift in Russia's international business relations despite remaining political tensions.

The three-day forum that closed on June 18th attracted more than 12,000 people from 130 countries. 1,300 companies, including 880 represented by executives, participated. Aside from being a meeting ground for Russian and foreign executives, the 20th annual forum served as a central stage for domestic and international strategic discussion.

The main highlights were President Vladimir Putin laying out an ambitious reform plan, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker marking a path for normalisation of relations with Russia, and government and central bank officials discussing fiscal and policy adjustments.

The $15.4bn deal tally only reflects the formal agreements that did not have the commercial information classified, Kobyakov stressed.

Major projects announced at the forum included Russian-Iranian energy development projects estimated at $40bn by Russian Ministry of Energy.

According to the estimates of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi cited by Russia Today, €1bn worth of deals were closed with Italy alone, including new cooperation between state oil giant Rosneft and Italian energy major Eni and shipbuilding company Fincantieri.

Rosneft also signed a long-discussed agreement with India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to sell 23.9% stake in Vankor oil field for $2.1bn (Russia's second-largest field and Rosneft's main extraction asset).

Although Russia's waning pivot East was less pronounced than at Spief-2015, a number of major Asian deals also included Russian grid company Rosseti opening a credit line from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC).

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