German businessmen still believe that Russia has "stable conditions and a great potential for foreign investments," announced head of German Business Representation in Russia Andrea von Knoop in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt on Saturday.
In her opinion, "last week's arrest of Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovski can be seen as a proof that the rule of law in Russia applies to Russian oligarchs, who accumulated their riches by illegal means, as well." Andrea von Knoop also pointed out that during her frequent meetings with representatives of large and medium-size businesses in Germany she never heard any of them stating their desire to change their business plans in relation to Russia because of the "developments in Mr. Khodorkovski's case." She said, "representatives of more than 2,000 German companies in Moscow continue their normal work, and many of them have significant investment projects in Russia." Speaking about investment projects, Die Welt reports that "everything is going as planned in Russia at present. It gives as example the Friday ceremony of the placement of the founding stone at the site of the future combine plant in Krasnodar, which will be constructed by German company Klaas. This construction project involves German investments in the south of Russia worth millions of dollars.
In addition, the newspaper quotes chairman of a giant supermarket chain Metro Hans Joachim Kerber as stating in the quarter report that "Russia, and especially Russian provinces will remain the major investment area for his company in 2004." RuhrGas concern chairman and member of Gazprom executive council Burkhard Bergman also does not have any doubts about the future cooperation with Russia. He said that "partnership with Russia has a long-term character and separate incidents never affected this partnership in the past." "We did not make any changes in our investment plans," confirmed the head of Siemens concern press service in Munich in an interview with Frankfurter Rundshau newspaper. By the way, in September, this German concern invested 100 million Euro in a new office building for its Russian branch.
The largest German "do-it-yourself" retail chain Obi plans to open two of its stores in Moscow in the next three weeks. In the following 4-5 years, Obi intends to invest 250-300 million Euro into the development of its chain in Russia, writes Frankfurter Rundshau.