No one likely to be surprised by bank loans these days

Belarusian Summit of Capital Markets — hosted by Minsk’s Crown Plaza Hotel — indicates that language of money has become even more complicated, with new words and meanings

By Vladimir Vasiliev

For Belarusian enterprises to successfully develop and be accessible to East and West, it’s necessary to augment their financial knowledge. “The traditional methods of granting loans, to which we’re accustomed, are a thing of the past,” stressed the Economy Minister, Nikolai Snopkov, delivering a speech at the forum. “There are many other interesting, less expensive and more flexible instruments of capital attraction for companies’ development.” Globally known partners have shared their knowledge of these instruments with heads of state and private companies; the forum gathered representatives of Deutsche Bank, Sberbank of Russia, White and Сase law firm and PricewaterhouseCoopers consulting company.

What attracts foreign financiers to Belarus? The Head of Moscow’s Deutsche Bank Office, Joerg Bongartz, notes the high growth of GDP, the successful overcoming of the consequences of the global crisis and an advantageous geographical position. He sees huge prospects in the Belarusian market and is impressed by the Government’s successful debut on the Eurobond market in 2010. He explains, “Investors were unanimously interested in investing money into Belarusian Eurobonds.” The German banker adds that, primarily, western banks, insurance and investment funds bought these bonds, showing their trust in the economy. While developing its co-operation with the Government, Deutsche Bank is eager to act as an organiser and consultant for our companies on the international capital market (regarding the issue of corporate bonds and placement of securities). Deutsche Bank is a member of the working group involved in BelAZ’s IPO (Initial Public Offering) preparation.

Mr. Bongartz notes that western partners are interested in participation in the civilised privatisation of our companies, while enhancing the efficiency of their work. Additionally, German business circles are considering opening facilities in Belarus. Companies selling tools and equipment, electronics, cars and spare parts may, according to Mr. Bongartz, come to the Republic as investors.

Other guests confirmed their interest in collaboration. Sadly, Belarus lags behind its neighbours regarding the use of modern, flexible and less expensive financial instruments. Foreigners are attracted by this, as yet, untapped potential. It was stressed at the forum that the joining of the leading stock markets envisages transparent accounting and receiving of credit ratings, among other elements. In fact, participation in the international capital markets requires the formation of a new corporate culture and new competencies. Mr. Snopkov urges us ‘to thirstily saturate ourselves with knowledge and perfect our understanding’. It was evident that forum participants were curious.

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