by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Oct 31, 2012
Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Virgin Green Fund on Wednesday announced plans to form a $200 million emerging markets fund with Russia's Rosnano Capital to invest in innovations and green technologies.
Virgin Group said in a statement that the fund would invest in "buyout and growth equity opportunities in mid-cap companies" and target Russia, Turkey and Central and Eastern Europe.
The fund will be led by a team experienced in emerging markets, Virgin Group said, with no Russians named.
At the launch in Moscow, Branson said: "We are excited to be launching our second fund focusing on the resource efficiency, consumer sustainability and renewable energy sectors."
The fund "will provide investors with tremendous opportunities to generate strong returns and also do something good for the planet at the same time," he was quoted as saying by Virgin Group.
The CEO of Rosnano, Anatoly Chubais, was quoted as saying that: "I believe the fund will find great opportunities to invest in growth companies in Russia and take them into global markets."
Branson and Chubais took part on Wednesday in a televised conference in Moscow called Open Innovations. Rosnano, a state corporation set up in 2007 to promote nanotechnology, was one of the organisers of the three-day event.
Nanotechnology, a broad term covering many different applications, involves the use of tiny structures that scientists can manipulate to create devices such as solar heating panels, improved computer chips or medical tools.
Russia is keen to diversify its economy and develop high-tech industries to lower its dependency on sales of oil and gas.
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