* To invest in toll roads, ports, airports
* Follows Putin's recent plans for new investment in roads,
MOSCOW, Sept 11 Abu Dhabi plans to invest $5
billion in Russian infrastructure in a venture to be set up with
the country's state-backed private equity fund, aimed at funding
toll roads, ports and airports, the Kremlin and the Russian fund
said on Wednesday.
Moves to improve infrastructure, some of which has changed
little since Soviet times, are considered vital by investors to
modernise Russia and make its economy more competitive.
President Vladimir Putin unveiled a $13 billion investment
plan to build new roads and railways at an economic forum in St
Petersburg in June.
"We believe we can deliver attractive returns investing in
Russian infrastructure," said Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive
of the state-backed Russian Direct Investment Fund.
"We see there is a huge (development) pipeline of toll
roads, ports and airports. So it means investing in attractive
cashflow businesses with significant government support."
Dmitriev expects investments in projects to start next year
and that it will take five to seven years for the funds to be
The accord with Abu Dhabi is expected to be signed during
talks between Putin and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed
on Thursday, the Kremlin said in a statement.
The emirate's finance department will co-invest in the joint
venture together with the RDIF. The RDIF will co-invest in each
project, although is not disclosing by how much.
The RDIF, created to give major foreign investors greater
comfort in Russia's uncertain business environment, expects
other sovereign wealth funds and investors to join the venture
at a later date.
The announcement comes months after the RDIF set up a $2
billion fund with Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Development to fund
projects in Russia across industry sectors.
Russia has been trying to attract investment from around the
world for various projects, and the Middle East's oil wealth is
a key area to tap.
Investment so far from the region has been minimal, although
there have been some commitments made over the past year.