Foreign Direct Investment
of the Year

Winner
Schneider Electric

For one of the world's leading manufacturers of electrical equipment Schneider Electric, Russia is the fourth-largest market. Here is the biggest production site of the French company — six plants and 12,000 employees (170,000 in total worldwide). The company’s main production facilities are located in Samara, and in January 2014 the company bought a manufacturer of medium voltage equipment in Ekaterinburg from Alstom, renaming the plant "Schneider Electric Ural" (the transaction amount was not disclosed). Despite the economic sanctions of the West against Russia, the company has not changed plans to invest 700 million euros in the Russian electrical equipment market from 2013 to 2018. Last year, the French company completed an agreement with the Russian company "Avelar Solar Technology" to equip solar power plants.

In addition, in the midst of economic sanctions, Schneider Electric continued negotiations with Kazan on the implementation of a smart city in the capital of Tatarstan. The French have already set up working groups on projects in transportation, smart grids, smart buildings and water supply, and also helped Kazan to modernize the city for the Universiade -2015.

Volkswagen

In September 2015, chairman of Volkswagen Tomas Schmall unveiled an automotive motor plant in the Kaluga region to produce 150,000 engines a year. The project cost the German company 250 million euros. Engines are assembled from imported components, but before the end of 2015, they will begin to buy from local suppliers. Previously, the group built an auto plant in the Kaluga region worth 1 billion euros, able to produce 225,000 cars a year, and to negotiate the release of some of its models in Nizhny Novgorod at the facilities of GAZ Group, Russia's largest manufacturer of light commercial vehicles (LCV).

It is noteworthy that the Volkswagen engine plant opened in the midst of a crisis in the Russian automotive market. By the end of August 2015, new car and LCV sales collapsed by 33.5 percent. Despite this, as well as the tense political situation, the German automobile company continues to increase its presence in the Russian market, where it arrived in 2006.

Lotte Group

One of the largest South Korean chaebols began expansion in Russia in 2010 with the opening of the luxury hotel Lotte, which has become one of the best five-star hotels in Moscow (the Moscow Lotte Plaza was also the first foreign hotel of the chain). Since then, Lotte Hotels & Resorts has invested about $750 million in the Russian economy. In addition to the hotel and shopping center in Moscow, the Koreans are developing a confectionery plant in Kaluga and promise to double its capacity by 2016. This year, the company announced that in view of existing investments in Russia, it intends to invest more than $1 billion over the next three years and become the largest Korean investor in our country. One of the proposed sites for investment is the Moscow shopping center "Atrium,” which the ambitious group intends to acquire for $500 million (the deal is not yet finalized).

Ford

In 2015, Ford Motor Company, unlike GM, another U.S. carmaker, made the decision not to leave Russia but, on the contrary, to increase its investment there. Moreover, in March, Ford announced a repurchase program for GM cars through trade-ins, as well as accepting GM cars for servicing and collaboration with its dealers.

In 13 years of local production, Ford has invested $ 1.5 billion in the creation of production capacity in various regions of Russia. Ford was the first foreign brand to open an engine plant in Russia (at the beginning of September of this year).

In addition, in March, Ford bought an additional issue of preferred stock in the Ford Sollers joint venture, through which it operates on the Russian market, and thereby brought its stake to a controlling interest. The idea behind this operation was to help the joint venture cope with the financial difficulties brought about by U.S. and E.U. sanctions. "We had loans in ruble, and much of the equipment was imported; because of the depreciation of the ruble, additional funding was needed. With equal shares in the joint venture, new contributions would also have to be made in equal shares.

Ekoniva

President of "EkoNiva," German Stefan Duerr, has been engaged in agriculture in Russia for over 25 years. In fact, he is the only investor from Germany who invests in the Russian agricultural sector. Duerr started as a distributor of agricultural equipment, and in 2002, began to buy agricultural land under arable development. But in the end he specialized in the production of raw milk — a still scarce product in the domestic agricultural sector. At the end of 2014, revenues for EkoNiva increased by 14 percent, and net profit increased more than eight fold as the ruble devalued against the euro by more than a third.

And most importantly, EkoNiva has become the largest producer of milk in Russia, overtaking longtime leader — "Krasny Vostok" (Tatarstan). Duerr and his team continue to conduct business from cabins erected near an EkoNika farm in the Voronezh region.