The Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, and the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC), a joint undertaking of the Columbia Law School and the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, are releasing the results of their survey of Russian outward investors today. The survey is part of a long-term study of the rapid global expansion of multinational enterprises (MNEs) from emerging markets. The present survey, conducted in 2009, covers the period 2006-2008.

Several years ago Russia became one of the leading outward foreign direct investors in the world. Foreign assets of Russian MNEs began to grow very rapidly and only China, including Hong Kong, could be compared to Russia. As the results of our survey show, Russian non-financial MNEs have remained significant actors in the world economy in spite of the global crisis that began in 2007. The foreign assets of the 20 leading Russian MNEs were about USD 118 billion at the end of 2008 (table 1).

Their foreign sales were USD 266 billion and they had more than 190,000 employees abroad. The top 20 list includes state-controlled firms as well as private ones, although private firms under oligarchs’ control dominate. Resource-based MNEs form the clear majority, although there are a number of services firms as well. Successors of Soviet multinationals can be seen side by side with companies which began their internationalization only in the past few years. It is perhaps worth noting that, although the firms at the top of the list (LUKOIL and Gazprom) are much larger in asset size than most of the others, the list is nothing like as lopsided as some of the others published by the VCC this year. Only three of the 20 firms have less than USD 1 billion in foreign assets.

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