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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sochi Seeks Airline and Insurer Sponsors

APPresident Dmitry Medvedev meeting Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Moscow on Wednesday for talks on combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden, which Russian warships are now patrolling after a spate of brazen attacks.
The Sochi Organizing Committee said Wednesday that it had created two new sponsorship categories -- for an insurer and an airline -- and that it sent bid invitations to Russia's largest players in each sector.

Ingosstrakh, the country's largest insurer, had not received an invitation, vice president Ilya Solomatin said Wednesday evening. The company will need to look at possible risks before it considers becoming a partner, he said.

"It's questionable whether one insurance company, even a big one, can adequately provide comprehensive insurance services at the Olympics," he said, adding that several Russian companies would do a better job.

Aeroflot and S7, the country's two largest airlines, did not respond to questions on whether they would bid.

The committee's press service said Wednesday that it expected 10 general partners for the 2014 Olympics, although it declined to say what other categories might be added. There are now eight categories, which will each have one winner. The exception is telecoms, where MegaFon and Rostelecom have already been chosen.

Vedomosti reported Wednesday that Sberbank had been picked in the banking category and that its contract could be as much as $130 million. The committee declined comment on the report, and Sberbank did not respond to written questions.

With the possible Sberbank sum, the total amount of corporate money pledged by Russian firms will have topped $750 million. The sponsorship program aims to raise 75 percent of the games' operational budget, initially set at $1.5 billion. The remainder is subsidized by the Russian government.