Gerhard Pfeifer: Backing Business in Russia
Published: July 16, 2014 (Issue # 1820)
Russia andáGerman engineering company Bosch have had close ties since tsarist times, says Gerhard Pfeifer, president andáCEO ofáBosch Groupĺs operations ináRussia, Georgia andáCIS countries.
He can say that again: the company first arrived ináRussia iná1904. Though it did not stick around ináSoviet times, theáengineering andáelectronics giant came back toáRussia iná1993, opening its first factory ináthe Saratov region onáthe Volga River iná1996.
Bosch has maintained aásteady presence onáthe countryĺs power tools, automotive components andáhousehold appliances markets ever since, andánot foránothing: Boschĺs growth rate ináRussia iná2010 andá2011 reached up toá30 percent.
Growth has since slowed toáhover around 10 toá20 percent, but still far outstrips theánational averageáŚ theáRussian economy iná2014 is struggling toáavoid aárecession.
ôI call it back toánormal,ö theá53-year-old Pfeifer says modestly ofáhis companyĺs expansion during anáexclusive interview with TheáSt. Petersburg Times, held atáthe companyĺs new boiler plant ináthe Volga city ofáEngels ináthe Saratov region earlier this month.
Theáexorbitant growth iná2011 was due inálarge part toáa 156 million euros ($212 million) paycheck foráBoschĺs work onáthe main stage ofáMoscowĺs renovated Bolshoi Theater, aá12-story-tall piece ofátheatrical machinery.
But theatrics aside, Boschĺs products remain inádemand ináRussia, andáneither anáeconomic slowdown nor theáruckus over Ukraine andáthe threat ofáWestern sanctions are slowing down its activity ináRussia, Pfeifer said.
Bosch has invested 250 million euros ináRussia so far, including ináthree plants ináSaratov andáa joint venture with Siemens ináSt. Petersburg making household appliances. Anáautomotive components plant ináSamara is slated toáopen iná2015, andáall that onátop ofáa 120-million-euro headquarters ináKhimki, just outside Moscow.
PfeiferáŚ anáimpeccably polite man with aácalm gaze andáoccasional flashes ofáwry humoráŚ had no personal ties toáRussia before coming here as Bosch supremo foráthe region iná2011. He speaks with Russians through anáinterpreter, andáhis wristwatch shows German time.
But theácompany is doing something right ináRussia, andáPfeifer sat down with TheáSt. Petersburg Times toátalk about why theácountryĺs business climate is not as bad as it may seem.
Pages:  [2 ] [3 ]