Russian FDI in Central and Eastern European Countries: Opportunities and Threats
IWE Working Paper No. 168
44 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2016
Date Written: April 2006
Russian outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) has been showing a very promising performance in recent years. The Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have become a key destination, but this is often viewed with suspicion by host countries.
The paper begins with the quantity and geographical distribution of Russian capital investment, pointing to differences between estimates and official OFDI data reported on a balance-of-payments basis by the Central Bank of Russia, which are frequently revised. In some years, OFDI has exceeded the FDI inflows into Russia, which is very unusual for an ex-communist transformation country. It is also paradoxical that FDI from relatively poor and less developed Russia should be supporting the economies of relatively more developed countries. When the destinations are examined, it emerges that some of the FDI is round-tripping and trans-shipping, as a significant proportion of the investment is conducted indirectly, through third economies.
The paper investigates the companies behind the transactions and their various motives for expanding abroad. The bulk of the OFDI has been coming from natural resource-based companies, Russia’s largest exporters, earning well from high world market prices for energy sources and raw materials. Having presented the Russian FDI position in the CEE region through the statistics of the host countries, the paper sets out to describe the main Russian-origin investments and trends in selected CEE countries. Special attention is paid to the strategic investments in the gas and oil industries and the alarming dependence on Russian natural gas and crude oil. It is stressed that Russian FDI is managed by mature strategies.
The paper also looks at the usually negative attitude taken in ex-socialist CEE countries to companies with Russian capital. The reasons for resistance include memories of earlier Soviet policies, fear of losing control over the commanding heights of the economy, and so-called oil and gas diplomacy, as well as cultural, productivity and efficiency issues. Five case studies are cited to shed light on the probable acquisition methods.
Finally, attention is turned to the prospects for Russian FDI in the CEE countries and to some actual privatization opportunities.
Keywords: Foreign Direct Investment, Multinational Enterprises, Transnational Corporations, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia
JEL Classification: D22, F23, M16, O52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation