Officials and executives gathered in the Black Sea resort of Sochi for the fourth annual Sochi International Investment Forum in hopes of drawing new cash to the region and halting a slide in foreign direct investment.
The meeting is also Russia’s second attempt this month to bolster its international profile, following a political forum in Yaroslavl hosted by President Dmitry Medvedev.
The investment arm of Russian Technologies, a state-run industrial conglomerate, signed agreements Friday with two companies from the United Arab Emirates: the ports and logistics unit of Crescent Group and real estate developer Damac.
Prominvest, a Russian Technologies subsidiary, and Gulftainer, a Crescent Group unit, agreed to set up a $500 million fund to acquire ports and logistics assets in Russia and in other former Soviet states.
“This is another major demonstration by the Crescent Group of its commitment to building strong economic ties with our Russian brothers,” vice chairman Badr Jafar said in a statement.
Crescent Group has other business with Russia. Its energy arm, Crescent Petroleum, and state-run oil producer Rosneft jointly began developing an oil and gas field in the United Arab Emirates in June.
Under the other agreement signed Friday, luxury developer Damac will invest $300 million in a joint real estate fund, whose projects will include facilities for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Damac Properties, said in a statement that his company had a “strong capital position” and was entering a market that features a “strong regulatory and transparency framework.”
The praise came as Putin pledged to streamline obstacles to construction, which officials are regularly accused of using to draw bribes.
The Cabinet will issue a decree standardizing the contract for businesses to connect to electricity supplies to prevent arm-twisting by suppliers, Putin told the forum in his opening speech.