31 October 2008

RVC invests in high technology

Innovation is not afraid of risksRVC invests 22 billion rubles in high technologies
Andrey Biryukov, Gazeta
The government explained how it is going to put Russia on an innovative track. According to Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, one of the main instruments of state support for the high-tech industry is the Russian Venture Company (RVC).

On Friday, 31.10.2008, at a meeting of the company's board of directors, a decision may be made to announce a tender for 6 billion rubles. Closed-end mutual funds of especially risky (venture) investments will be formed from this money. According to Alexey Korobov, CEO of RVC, if the Board of Directors approves the allocation of funds, applications will be accepted at the end of December 2008, and the results of the distribution of funds will be announced in the spring - early summer of 2009.

RVC was established in June 2006 by government decree and is engaged in the creation of venture investment in Russia (investing in particularly risky commercial projects at the initial stage by entering into the company's capital). The main goal of RVC is to support innovative industries and promote Russian high-tech products to the world market. Currently, the authorized capital of the company is 28.2 billion rubles. Investments go to support biotechnology, nanotechnology, aviation, energy conservation and others. The Board of Directors of RVC includes the head of the Ministry of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina, the Minister of Education Andrey Fursenko, the head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service Igor Artemyev. 100% of the company's shares are owned by the Federal Agency for Federal Property Management.

Currently, two venture funds have been formed: VTB-Venture Fund and Bioprocess Capital Ventures. The capitalization of the funds is 2.9 billion rubles. The first fund already finances 12 projects of 170 million rubles each, the second - so far only one project worth 300 million rubles. Among the projects, for example, the development of new oil and gas production technologies based on hydro-mechanical rotary-vortex machines, the production of a new type of variator, the technology of peeling potatoes with steam followed by rinsing the peel in a washing machine, etc. Five more venture funds totaling about 13 billion rubles, for which a competitive selection has already passed, will appear before the end of the current year.

According to Alexey Korobov, the bar of requirements will be lowered for the participants of the new competitive selection. Investments will be made in companies with an annual revenue of up to 25 million rubles and an age of at least three years. Already formed funds finance companies with revenue of no more than 150 million rubles. In addition, the "seed financing" model (project financing at the earliest stage) will also be tested for the first time. It is proposed to allocate 2 billion rubles for this. According to Yan Ryazantsev, RVC's Investment Director, there are currently several hundred such projects in Russia, but few of them meet the requirements of investors.

The plans of RVC also include the improvement of legislation. Now, according to Korobov, the only way to bring capital to innovation is the formation of a closed-end mutual investment fund. "Together with the Ministry of Economic Development, we are working on other mechanisms that are more flexible, both for investors and venture capital companies," he said. The relevant bills may be submitted to the State Duma by the end of spring 2009. We are talking about amendments to the laws "On Investment Funds", "On Joint Stock Companies", as well as to the fourth part of the Civil Code.

According to Korobov, RVC will have to be merged with international funds later, since there is no experience of such projects in Russia. "There is no venture market in itself. If we want to build a venture business only in Russia, this will not work," Alexey Korobov said. According to him, this initiative may meet resistance in the government, since the main goal of RVC is to invest in the Russian high-tech industry.

"Rostechnologies" will get their own quicklyDeputies propose to simplify the transfer of property to the state corporation "Rostechnologii" (GC).

A draft law has been prepared that allows for the accelerated registration of the rights of established companies included in the Civil Code to immovable property transferred to their authorized capital. Now most of the real estate of the military-industrial complex is not involved in economic turnover, so the registration of rights to it was not carried out. And in order to transfer this property from the state and Federal State Unitary Enterprises to the state corporation, it must first be registered and taken into account in the register of federal property. As stated in the explanatory note to the bill, the transfer of the property contribution of the Russian Federation to the state corporation "Rostechnologii" in the general order would take at least five years. And in the accelerated mode, Sergey Chemezov's GC can receive the property of FSUEs in just a year. To simplify the task even more, the deputies propose to endow the Civil Code with the rights of the owner of the property of FSUEs, which are transferred to it by Presidential decree No. 1052 of July 10, 2008. This will allow the GC to privatize the FSUE on behalf of the state.

Portal "Eternal youth" www.vechnayamolodost.ru31.10.2008

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