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The climate is seaside, investment

Lev Kolomits about the realities of attracting investors in the southernmost region of the Far Eastern Federal District

In early December, a curious study was published on the website of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI), dedicated to the results of monitoring the effectiveness of instruments and mechanisms for supporting investment activities in the Far East. These data were presented at the annual conference "100 steps to a favorable investment climate", which took place in Moscow 1 December last year. Primorsky Krai as an investment site in the materials looks unconvincing, the main epithet applied to it is "the worst."

The climate is seaside, investment

In addition to the general Middle Eastern characteristics of the business climate (low activity of lending and financial support for small and medium-sized businesses, above the national average risks of criminal prosecution of entrepreneurs and fiscal checks), there are many features that are authentic for Primorye. These include regulatory deficiencies in various investment formats (concession agreements and PPPs), the lack of legislation on regional industrial policies and their instruments, the lowest in the DFO, business satisfaction with regional legislation, the work of the investment council and public information on the results of its work. The entrepreneurs interviewed during the study noted a decrease in investment for the past three years, inaccessibility of the regional infrastructure, lack of dialogue between the authorities and the business community. The low level of quality of work of development institutions of all levels is revealed: only 13% of respondents use their services, there is no access to information on their activities (KPIs, plans and reports), procedures and schemes for obtaining support are too complex; there is a duplication of tasks between different institutions. The conclusions are not groundless, as in the social networks there is a period of heated debate about the effectiveness of state support for the coastal entrepreneurs.

As a consequence, given the favorable conditions for investment (border location, high investment potential, abundance of entrepreneurs, a surplus of consolidated budgets of subjects, etc.), the region occupies only 4 place in terms of investments in the Far Eastern Federal District, bypassing Yakutia, Sakhalin and Amur region.

ASI, as is known, uses its set of criteria for assessing the regional investment climate, which includes, for example, the existence of an investment strategy, an annual plan for the creation of investment objects and necessary infrastructure in the region, an annual message from the head of the subject on the investment climate, a regulatory act on the protection of investors' rights and mechanisms support investment activities and many others. In Primorye, there are still many positions, in part this can be explained by the lack of attention to the investment climate on the part of the ex-governor, in part - his hope in attracting investors to federal development institutions.

Note that the listed list of factors, firstly, is not exhaustive, and secondly - does not guarantee the flow of investment, but this is the subject of a separate conversation. We also publish ASI as a good reason to pay attention to the state of investments in Primorye. For this, let us turn to information on investment projects, which are fixed by two authorized structures: the Primorsky Territory Investment Agency and the Far East Development Corporation. The agency accumulates projects with which businessmen apply to the regional administration for support, including to search for (co-investor), while the corporation keeps records of projects of companies that have already received the status of residents of TOP and SPV with clear sources of financing. Some projects appear on both lists.

The list of the Agency is a kind of "wish list" of business, drawn up irrespective of privileges and preferences of special zones, which can be considered as an industry ranking of investment attractiveness (it is obvious that the quality of preparation of projects is different, and not all of them are realizable in the declared form ). Data on investments already made on the Agency's website are not provided. 108 projects with a total funding of 324 billion rubles. (of which 101 billion are expected from investors) are distributed in 14 directions. The most popular are "Tourism Development" (14 projects), "Agriculture" (13), "Objects of Social Orientation" (13), "Production of Building Materials" (13) and "Transport and Logistics" (11).

The tourist direction is the record for the declared volume of investments: the total cost of projects exceeds 76 billion rubles. (about a quarter of the total investment of all announced projects), while the developers, although to attract less than 5% of this amount from investors - 3,6 billion. The first place is provided by just one, but an ambitious project to create an integrated entertainment zone "Primorye" in the b. Ant, costing 55,5 billion rubles.

The direction "Complex development of the territory (industrial parks, industrial parks, industrial zones)" includes only 5 projects with an impressive cost of 43,8 billion. The most financially capacious is the industrial zone in the b. Trinity (34,9 billion), which includes sites for the production of footwear, clothing, textiles, electronics, assembly of cars and household appliances, transport and logistics complex, woodworking and so on.

In agriculture, the total amount of investments is much smaller (36 billion), and the need for investment is greater (17,8 billion, that is, almost 50%). The largest projects in this area are two: the construction of pig farms for 500 thousand heads in the Spassky region by the company "Mercy Agro Primorye" (more than 20 billion rubles) and the poultry factory "Romanovskaya" (11,6 billion rubles).

Construction is the third direction in terms of cost (8 projects worth more than 28 billion), despite the fact that investors want a little more than 3 billion. The leader here is the integrated development project in the southern part of Ussuriysk, involving the construction of 400 thousand square meters. m housing. The adjacent industry of building materials, despite the abundance of projects, has much more modest requests: the cost of all projects is 3,6 billion, investors are asked for the entire 395 million.

In the field of transport and logistics, 11 projects for the sum of 28,7 billion rubles have been announced, of which the designers themselves are ready to invest only a quarter (7 billion). Almost half of the total (13 billion) is the construction of a grain terminal in the Greater Stones area.

With innovations and high technologies in Primorye, judging by the Agency's data, the situation is not important: the site presents 5 projects, the most notable of which is the plant for the production of plastic containers in Nadezhdinsky district (13 billion, 90% of all investments).

In the field of fisheries 9 projects amounting to 15,6 billion (of which 12,2 is not enough). Among these projects, the Biotechnopark "Ostrovnoy" stands out, under which developers have requested a part of the water area about. Russian and the coast of Peter the Great Bay.

Traditional for the province branch of mining is not very popular with the designers - it has only 3 project, one of which (production of crushed stone) should be attributed to the production of construction materials. A significant amount of required investments is provided by the project for processing coal into synthetic fuel at a cost of 16,5 billion rubles.
In the food industry, only 4 project for 11,9 billion, of which 8,8 - funds for the re-creation of sugar beet production in the province. In the section "Ecology" we see 4 project at 9 billion rubles, of which a little less than everything is planned to attract investors. The largest of them is utilization of ash dumps at Luchegorskaya GRES (8 billion). Outsiders of the list are automobile and shipbuilding, with 5 projects for modest 3 billion rubles.


Let's move on to the list of projects that have passed the filter of selection in TOP and SPV. According to the KRDV, 4 residents work in 60 territories of Primorye's advanced development, with which 58 agreements are concluded on a fantastic amount for the region of almost a trillion rubles (909 billion). Most of this is the cost of building two megaprojects of Rosneft (petrochemical complex and shipyard Zvezda), production of Mazda Sollers engines, Rusagro pig complexes and a number of other productions. Actually invested at the moment over 22 billion rubles. Currently there are only four operating enterprises: the Europlast plant in Nadezhda TOR, the pig complex and the Mercy Trade elevator, and the soybean processing plant in Mikhailovskoye TOP.

According to the register, 36 residents of Nadezhdinskaya most of all projects for the production of construction materials (7), logistics (5), construction, automotive and fish processing (4), little food production (2) and 6 various industrial projects. With the specialization of Mikhailovsky (9 Residents), Big Stone (12) and Petrochemical (1), everything is clear: the first TOP is conceived as an agricultural cluster, the second as a shipbuilding cluster.

A more colorful picture is observed in the register of residents of the Free Port. Of the 327 residents of Primorsky Krai, half are transport and logistics, construction and industrial companies planning to manufacture a wide range of consumer goods from buses to napkins. Among the remaining projects, various real estate transactions, hotels and restaurants, production of construction materials prevail. Disappearingly few residents of shipbuilders and ship repairers (3 project), ecologists (3), educators (1) and programmers (1). The cost of projects exceeds 300 billion, but there is no data on already invested funds in the register.

From the above information, you can draw several conclusions. 

First, the number of announced and implemented projects seems to be no reason to talk about low investment activity in the province, and the number of residents of the WSS, according to the information of the KRDV, is growing every day. In the rating of investment activity of the Agency "Invest-Forsyth" in November and December 2017, Primorye even turned out to be in the first position. Obviously, the observed gap between different estimates of the investment environment is due to the fact that the ASI survey affected local businessmen implementing projects either in the SST mode, which for some reason does not suit them, or generally outside preferential regimes, while the bulk of investments in the province is carried out by residents of the TOP, among which are external players for Primorye, large corporations and the state.

Secondly, according to business, the most promising are transport and logistics, agricultural, construction and tourist areas, which are actively growing both in THR and SPV modes, and beyond. Under certain conditions, it would be possible to talk about the formation of relevant industry clusters in Primorye, but this large-scale topic, in our opinion, is worthy of a separate discussion. The industry and production, judging by the above statistics, are viable only in the conditions of special economic zones. There are few announced projects in the field of extraction and processing of marine bioresources, on which traditionally high hopes are placed on the rise of the regional economy. Outside the TOR "Bolshoy Kamen" there is almost no ship repair and shipbuilding. Finally, there are almost no projects in the field of ICT, hi-tech and energy.

It is possible that the investment potential of the Primorsky Krai is far from being exhausted by the projects listed above, which would be twice as great when correcting the situation with regulation and infrastructure described in the beginning of the article. Therefore, until there are other reasons for the lagging behind in the investment activity of the Far Eastern Federal District, it would be worthwhile to take into account the already known - including the recommendations of the ASI in creating an investment strategy, industrial policy, technology parks and other attributes of the investment-attractive region in Primorsky Krai.
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