Irish Investor Braves Bureaucratic Hitches

Despite obstacles caused by the country's overwhelming bureaucracy, foreign investors are being swamped by the high volume of potential real estate projects nationwide, a representative for one major European investor said.

"We are probably going to have around 20 to 30 projects come across the table every week to look at," said Peter Quinn, regional manager for Eastern Europe at Irish firm Quinn Group.

The firm is part of a new wave of investors coming from outside the pool of countries that have traditionally worked here. And the influx of aggressive parvenu capital is certainly shaking up the system.

Owned by Ireland's wealthiest man, secondary-school dropout Sean Quinn, the company is turning its attentions away from its traditional manufacturing base in Ireland to concentrate on real estate investment in emerging markets.

And since entering the Russian market, Quinn Properties has shown a voracious appetite for investment, notching up 12 major developments in about 18 months.

"We feel we have done a lot in a very short period of time," Quinn said.

Overall, the company has pledged to spend $5 billion on real estate projects in the country over a five-year period.

The breakneck speed of Quinn Group's investments has spawned anecdotal accounts of potential partners literally lining up to sell their projects.

"I guess you could call it a conveyor belt, but we just like to think that we are making the most of our time," Quinn said.

Quinn said Russia was a "higher-risk" country but justified this by saying that projects were also "high return."

"We do look at the political factors, but it is not something that really concerns us. The world changes and Russia changes," he said.

From Ufa to Kazan, the Quinn group has invested outside of the capital in around six major cities, Quinn said. Among the company's flagship projects are a major Logistics Park in Kazan and an entertainment complex in Ufa.

Despite the breadth of the firms portfolio, Quinn said Moscow's office market still offered the most opportunities.

The company is currently working on leasing out its flagship Kutuzov office tower in central Moscow.

The Quinn Group is also keen to break into the hotel market by acquiring one of the major top-end hotels in Moscow, Quinn said.

The company has previously expressed interest in acquiring the Radisson Slavanskaya Hotel in central Moscow.