The Russian government approved the transformation of Vnesheconombank into a factory of project financing

The bank nearly died because of ineffective political projects, but the officials don't care. 
On Monday, at a meeting with the First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, the project financing factory was finally approved, three federal officials told Vedomosti. The factory will be launched in 2018, its mission is to restart the investment process in the country.

Representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Finance and Shuvalov did not answer the question of Vedomosti. The working principles of the factory are coordinated with all interested parties, the representative of VEB confirmed, the approval of the Supervisory Board is not required. For each ruble that VEB can give through the factory and syndication, you can attract 3-4 rubles. in the economy, he continues, it will allow to generate long money and realize more projects.

The factory will operate on the basis of Vneshekonombank (VEB) - once this bank nearly died under the weight of ineffective politically conditioned projects. In 2014, VEB had to be rescued urgently, the place of the bank's chairman instead of Vladimir Dmitriev was taken by Sergei Gorkov, and before him a dilemma arose: either wind down VEB's activities and gradually clear out bad debts, rejoicing that they got off with little blood, or give him a second chance, recalls employee of VEB. The second concept won: VEB 2.0 appeared.

The repetition will not be, officials promise: this time the risks are diversified and shared with other investors.
The project committee of the factory (VEB employees, other banks and RFPI, there are no officials in it) will approve investments in four areas: export, high conversion industry, innovations, infrastructure. For each approved project, several tranches of paper will be issued (see the inset on page 05), they will be bought not only by VEB, but also by its market co-investors.

The rate will be lowered - the Ministry of Finance guarantees inflation at 4%. Based on the current yields of inflationary OFZs and the premium for credit risk, the rate will be 10-10.5%, the official believes.
Under tranche A state guarantees are provided - they will be issued by VEB's daughter. For these purposes in the budget is reserved 40 billion rubles.

The factory did not like the Ministry of Finance for a long time (see the cut), but in the end the Ministry of Finance reassured, officials say. Officials of the Ministry of Finance confirm this: they argued not about the principles, but about the amounts.

But officials decided to load VEB with new assets, and new liabilities. On Tuesday, the Duma Committee on the financial market recommended approval of the bill, which expands VEB's ability to raise company funds. Now VEB can accept the funds of legal entities only if they participate in VEB's projects in any way. Now it will be possible to attract money from outside organizations - by a separate government decision. Such decisions appear in several cases: to ensure the financial stability of the bank; to create conditions for the fulfillment of VEB's obligations in financing state programs and projects; finally, for the financial provision of individual bank projects that have a national, strategic or priority importance. The money will be attracted to all projects of the bank, Gorkov said on Tuesday: there are now 300 of them, but with the appearance of the factory, there will be more.

"The first question that the new VEB team asked: well, we will save the bank, and what should we do with it? If it continues to be loaded with megaprojects and does not change funding sources, the story will soon be repeated, "the bank employee recalls.

Until 2014, the bank actively attracted money through Eurobonds, the sanctions introduced after the accession of the Crimea and events in Eastern Ukraine deprived it of this source of funding. VEB came under double blow, Dmitriev complained recently: the cost of funding has grown, and the government has banned the bankrupt Olympic projects. The budget had to allocate 150 billion rubles to the bank. for five years to reduce the cost of funding. Gorkov argued that this is not enough: the development bank should have a lower rate.

Now VEB is funded mainly (35.7%) through bonded loans, customer funds account for 15.2% (see the cut). Money companies - another option, it is also not enough, says VEB employee.

The possibility of having a lower interest rate was asked by VEB under Dmitriev, but the Central Bank was always against: VEB should not be jostled in the same market with banks. Gorkov reassured competitors: "We are not going to enter the market and vacuum deposits. This is not an instrument for maintaining liquidity, but a tool for implementing projects. And not the most profitable: it is, as a rule, not cheap and inexpensive money, and VEB's projects are long. "

The market has enough liquidity, the top manager of a large bank is calm: "VEB already attracts the same money from corporations that other banks give it through interbank, now they will simply exclude middlemen."

"If it comes down to megaprojects, which are made at the request of the state, it would be better to give free budget money at all," a person close to VEB thinks. In spring, the possibility of funding VEB from additional oil revenues was discussed.

The key question for the project factory is whether the state will take on credit risks associated with it, warns S & P analyst Karen Vartapetov: if not, the project can put pressure on asset quality. The government takes risks through guarantees of inflation and state guarantees, but it is impossible to fully cover the risks of investors and VEB, the official is sure.

To prevent the recurrence of the history of VEB three years ago, it is necessary that the cost of funding is not overstated compared to the rate of lending, warns analyst Fitch Alexander Danilov.

Ruble rates for short (up to a month) corporate deposits - 8-8.5%, the bank's top manager estimates. If the average period (up to a year), the rate depends heavily on the limits on the bank, more often it is above 9%. Long money is simply difficult to attract: companies have accumulated a lot of money, they have not invested in recent years, but they do not want to be permanently placed - it is more profitable to return them to shareholders. Yet the main source of long money for VEB is bonds, he concludes.

There were a lot of proposals for how to launch investments, and growth was never started, says the chief economist of PF Capital, Evgeny Nadorshin: "The key problem is how projects are selected - based on the evaluation of the public good or based on the interests of local lobby groups or any other priorities."