More Than Moscow

Russia to France

France is Russia's 14th largest export market and Russia is the 11th largest importer of goods to France.

Of Russian exports to France, 90 percent are energy products.

Like France, Russia is, in many respects, highly centralized. Yet, the sheer size of the country — 31 times larger than France — automatically provides for a level of autonomy. While France's education minister may know exactly who is studying what and when, time zones alone mean Moscow's education chief will never be so all-controlling.

France to Russia

Russia is France's 13th largest export market and France is the 9th largest importer of goods to Russia. France has a 3.8 percent share of Russia's import market.

More than 6,000 French firms export to Russia, 60 percent of which are small or medium-sized businesses.

For the ordinary traveler, crossing a Russian regional border is likely to bring with it little change — especially if their longitude remains constant† — but for the business-minded, the transition can be enormous: different administrations, different laws and, most importantly, different people. Despite this, many French firms have set up across the country. Retail and logistics networks have expanded to numerous centers, while many manufacturers have chosen specific locations to develop plants. The map below shows just a small sample of French firms and their activities beyond Moscow.

  1. Vinci Concessions is leading a consortium, the North-West Concession Company, which is developing a 43-kilometer segment of the Moscow-St. Petersburg toll road. In April VEB and Sberbank announced a 20-year $1 billion loan to support the PPP project, which has 23 billion rubles ($734.8 million) in state support and is estimated to cost 63.4 billion rubles.
  2. In 2008 Onduline, a specialist French firm supplying roofing materials, started up a production plant in Nizhny Novgorod. The firm invested $40 million in the factory, which is its largest in the world with a production capacity of 15 million square meters a year. Onduline has been supplying materials to the Russian market since setting up a sales subsidiary in Moscow in 1994.
  3. The French hotel firm Accor increased its presence in Russia with the opening of the four-star 168-room Novotel in Yekaterinburg in February. This brings the number of Novotels in the country to four and Accor-managed hotels to eight, including Ibis Hotels in Kazan and Omsk.
  4. Lafarge announced in February that it intended to increase production at its two cement-producing factories in Russia, which include Uraltsement in the Chelyabinsk region, by at least 12 percent. The company is also currently investing in a new plant in the Kaluga region.
  5. The French home-improvement and gardening retailer Leroy Merlin opened its latest of 14 Russian stores in Omsk in December 2009. The official launch of he 11,000-square-meter store took place a week after the company opened its fifth store in the capital. The chain is also present in St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, Samara and Novosibirsk.
  6. In 1993 Pernod Ricard, the French alcohol producer famous for Pernod Anise and Ricard Pastis, set up its first Russian base in Tomsk — a vodka distillery. The company moved its central office to Moscow in 1995 but continues vodka production in Russia with the Altai's Itkulsky Spirit Factory.
  7. In Russia, Orange, France Telecom's principal brand, focuses on business services and has employees in 38 Russian cities to date. One particular Russia-based project the company highlights is the installation of satellite technology to provide internet access and internal communications for remote timber felling plants in the Irkutsk and Arkhangelsk regions.
  8. Specializing in sugar production, Bauche trades in Russia under the Sakharny Alliance brand. The company has a network of warehouses across the country focusing primarily on Eastern Russia, including Krasnoyarsk and Khabarovsk.
  9. Following the establishment of its first Russian warehouse in 1998 just outside Moscow, FM Logistic opened its first regional warehouse at the other end of the country in Vladivostok in 2000. Over the last 10 years the company has increased its coverage in Russia and now has 296,500 square meters of warehousing in nine centers including Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Khabarovsk.
  10. In 2007 ADPI, a company founded in 2000 as a subsidiary of the Aeroports de Paris group for its international designs, acted as a consultant on the development of Novosibirsk's new Tolmachyovo airport and since has been commissioned to prepare surveys for its development.
  11. Air Liquide, a specialty gas provider, announced in May 2009 that it would invest $54 million in developing a gas plant in Alabuga, a Special Economic Zone in the republic of Tatarstan. The company, which first came to Russia in 1989, has also invested 100 million euros ($122 million) in a gas-production facility in Cherepovets, in the Vologda region.
  12. With over 40 stores in the country and a further six planned for 2010, Auchan has a presence in many of Russia's key regional cities as well as Moscow. At the end of 2009 the chain opened the first of a new hi-tech format brand, Raduga or Rainbow, in Penza.
  13. In April Sanofi-Aventis, the pharmaceutical giant that has been active in Russia for over 10 years, acquired a controlling stake in Bioton Vostok, an insulin producing plant based in the Orlov region.
  14. Bonduelle, one of Europe's leading vegetable producers, has been farming in the Krasnodar region since 2004. The company, which started in Russia by importing produce in 1994, now sells 80,000 metric tons of conserved or frozen food a day in the country.
  15. The French car manufacturer Peugeot Citroen together with Mitsubishi launched a new car assembly plant in Kaluga at the end of April. With a total of 470 million euros ($630 million) invested in the project, the plant should produce 90,000 cars by 2012, including the Peugeot 308 and the Citroen C4, which are already in production at the plant.
  16. Rasec Vostok first came to Russia in 2003 and in 2005 set up a manufacturing base in Tver. The company produces furniture for retail outlets and has installed its products throughout the country from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Siberia and Khabarovsk.
  17. Alstom, the company behind France's TGVs and the Eurostar, is currently involved in developing a high-speed rail link between St. Petersburg and Helsinki. In March this year the company acquired a 25 percent plus one share stake in Russia's largest rolling stock manufacturer, Transmashholding.
Russia Facts

Economy

2009 Nominal GDP: $1,229 billion* (12th position)
GDP Real Growth 2007: 8.1 percent*
GDP Real Growth 2009: -7.9 percent*
Inflation 2009: 11.9 percent*
Exports 2009: $295.6 billion*
Leading Export Destination: Netherlands (12.2%)
Imports 2009: $196.8 billion*
Leading Import Country: China (12.9%)
2009 Stock of FDI at home: $225.6 billion
2009 Stock of FDI abroad: $196.7 billion
Corruption Perception Position: 146th of 180

Population

2009 Total: 141.2 million*
Working population: 76 million
Urban population: 73 percent
Average Age: 38.4
Life expectancy: 66
Literacy rate: 99.4 percent
Internet Users 45.25 million (8th in world)

Infrastructure

No. of Airports: 1,216
Total Railroad: 87,157 kilometers
Length of Road: 933,000 kilometers

GDP Composition

* Estimate
Sources: The World Factbook, IMF, Transparency International

France Facts

Economy

2009 Nominal GDP: $2,676 billion (5th position)
GDP Real Growth 2007: 2.3 percent*
GDP Real Growth 2009: -2.2 percent*
Inflation 2009: 0.1 percent*
Exports 2009: $456.8 billion*
Leading Export Destination: Germany (14.4%)
Imports 2009: $532.2 billion*
Leading Import Country: Germany (17.8%)
2009 Stock of FDI at home: $1.202 trillion
2009 Stock of FDI abroad: $1.759 trillion
Corruption Perception Position: 24th of 180†

Population

Total: 62.6 million
Working population: 25.5 million
Urban population: 77 percent
Average Age: 39.4
Life expectancy: 81
Literacy rate: 99 percent
Internet Users: 42.91 million (9th in the world)

Infrastructure

No. of Airports: 475
Total Railroad: 29,213 kilometers
Length of Road:† 1,027,183 kilometers

GDP Composition

* Estimate
Sources: The World Factbook, IMF, Transparency International


Russia - France 2010
Russia - France 2010
To coincide with President Sarkozy of France's visit to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, The Moscow Times is publishing a special edition of its Partnership XXI Century guides. Russia-France is dedicated to business relations between the two countries.
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