Aton targets Israelis to invest in Russian market

Aton Asset Management is looking to attract Israeli investors in an effort to broaden its global investor base.

aton biz 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy photo)
aton biz 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy photo)
Aton Asset Management, one of Russia's three largest investment houses, was in Tel Aviv Monday looking to attract Israeli investors to the Russian securities market in an effort to broaden its global investor base. "Israel was chosen as one of the countries with a potential for cooperation, as we see it as a large economic power that could contribute to the growing Russian economy," said Mikhail Rozin, CEO of Aton Asset Management at the international convention "Russia and Israel: Investment Opportunities in the Russian Securities Market," noting that Israeli business people have made large investments in Russia recently, especially in real estate. "We believe there is a great potential for Israeli investors to be attracted by the superior value offered by the Russian equities market." On Tuesday, Eliezer Fishman announced that Mirland Development Corporation, the Fishman Group's Russian real estate development arm, is acquiring a market trading pavilion in Kazan in Russia for a total of $1.3 million. An additional $160,000 will be payable to the city of Kazan to purchase the rights the city has in the eight dunam of land. Under the terms of the agreement with the municipality of Kazan, Mirland will construct a new shopping and entertainment center of approximately 34,000 square meters plus some 600 parking places over a total of 22 dunam of land. Israel, Rozin said, was a natural area to look for new investors since the country had a very large immigrant population from former Soviet Union states. Although the Russian securities market is less profitable than the Israeli market, Rozin noted that it is characterized by strong liquidity, relatively low volatility - despite the subprime mortgage crisis affecting many global markets - high commodity prices, strong macroeconomic growth prospects and fast-growing consumer demand. The investment bank added that the the combination of economic and political stability, high oil prices and interested investors had led to a change in Russia, as, starting from 1999, Russian securities turned into one of the most liquid assets, with a return of more than 30-fold. "Foreign capital that flowed into Russia in the first quarter of 2007 alone amounted to $12 billion," said Alexander Zhukov, Russian Deputy Prime Minister, at the conference. Furthermore, analysts at Aton argued that the Russian market could be expected to be resistant to external volatility and global crises. "Russian economic growth (together with Russian corporate profits) is primarily driven by rapidly rising domestic consumption and fixed investments into, for example, real estate," said Alexey Savatyugin, head of the Financial Policy Department at the Russian Finance Ministry. "Russian GDP is thus expected to keep growing at at high rate of between 6 percent and 8% in the coming years, even in a lower oil price environment." Savatyugin added that the consumer boom in Russia, which has boosted demand for housing and mortgages, has in turn increased the demand for banking and insurance services to levels local institutions can't handle. "Now, we are waiting for foreign banks to enter the market and fill the gap," he said. In 2006, Aton was involved in deals amounting to a total of over $93b. Among the largest transactions in recent years were joint management of the Rosneft IPO, one of the largest oil companies in Russia, valued at $10b. Israel-Ukraine trade rises to $391m. so far in 2007 Bi-lateral trade between Israel and the Ukraine rose by 16.7 percent to $391 million in the third quarter of 2007 compared with the same period last year, according to figures published Monday by the Israel-Ukraine Chambers of Commerce. Lev Leviev, president of the Israel-Ukraine Chambers of Commerce, released the figure in connection with the Chambers' "Doing Business in Ukraine" conference on Tuesday in Tel Aviv. The conference was attended by an Ukrainian business delegation headed by the Ukrainian Economics Minister and Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai. In the first three quarters of the year, Israeli exports to the Ukraine, including plastics and chemical products, rose by 23% to $114m. compared with last year, while imports from the Ukraine grew by 14% to $277m.