Deripaska Inks $20Bln St. Pete Deal

Itar-TassA section of St. Petersburg's ring road that was officially opened Sunday by First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov.
Billionaire Oleg Deripaska and partners including Hochtief agreed on Thursday to invest $20 billion in St. Petersburg from now to 2015 amid a government push to upgrade Soviet-era infrastructure.

Deripaska's Basic Element holding and two of its subsidiaries, Altius-Development and Glavstroi, will act as investors. Its partners and co-investors will include Hochtief, Strabag, Bouygues, Egis and Transstroi.

Deripaska signed the accord with St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko, said Sergei Rybak, a spokesman for BasEl.

"There's a lot of opportunity and we're on the cutting edge," said L.J. Mahon, head of BasEl's infrastructure division. Projects include building 5.5 million square meters of new housing, a 67-kilometer express train between downtown and Pulkovo Airport, new roads and underground parking, Mahon said.

"These projects can only be based on a long-term partnership between the state and investors," BasEl cited Matviyenko as saying on its web site.

Deripaska, who controls United Company RusAl, is leading the government's effort to develop Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The country plans to spend more than $12 billion building stadiums, roads, hotels and other facilities.

"This country needs everything: roads, hospitals, schools, airports, cars, trains, airplanes," Deripaska said in a Nov. 10 interview. "There is huge demand, and supply is not coping."

The government will also invest in the St. Petersburg project, though its contribution is not part of the $20 billion, Rybak said. Deripaska owns 30 percent of Austria's Strabag and 10 percent of Germany's Hochtief.

Bloomberg, MT