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Wednesday 8 January 2014

The Challenges and Opportunities in Russia

Although Russia is today the world's largest producer of oil and gas, which is the primary source of its power, we at Blackhawk believe that multiple challenges in the Russian context presently impede the development of the private equity industry and will continue to do so until effective changes take place. The most important of these challenges are summarized below.

Narrow Deal Pipeline
Private equity begins with a deal pipeline from which investors at large can pick and choose situations in which they would like to invest. In Russia, it is difficult to find deals that simultaneously include solid management; transparent and credible financials; clean provenance; large and growing markets; a solid business plan; binding contracts with vendors, suppliers, and distributors; and clear potential exit strategies.

When these deals do occasionally appear, we find ourselves in frustrating situations where our  money is not wanted. The companies in question may not be interested in growth beyond a certain size or they end up being the subject of deeply discounted acquisitions conducted in relative secrecy. 

Many deals are also too small in size ($500,000-$1,000,000) and, given the intensity and costs of hands-on, private equity investing, deals this size simply do not make economic sense for us yet.

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