Prague, Moscow - Russia, the largest country in the world and a member of the BRICS group of large emerging economies, is increasingly being seen as a hub of interesting investment opportunities.
MND, the Czech Republic's largest gas and oil producer, will be introduced today as a sponsor of Russia's Continental Hockey League (KHL), believed to be the second best hockey league in the world, after the American NHL.
Details of the deal, including the sum invested, will not be released, however Aktualne.cz learned that the agreement was born as part of a business deal unrelated to hockey.
Karel Komárek, a Czech billionaire and owner of MND, has launched a joint project with Alexander Medvedev, the director general of Gazprom Export, the export arm of Russia's energy giant Gazprom. The project consists of the construction of five new gas reservoirs. In exchange for being allowed to participate on Gazprom's activities, MND agreed to sponsor the Russian hockey league.
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According to information available to Aktualne.cz, MND will invest millions of euro into the KHL every year.
The deal with Gazprom is not Komárek's first venture in Russia. Komárek, one of the richest Czechs, is the owner of KKCG, an investment group. In July, the group bought the Oktyabrsk oil terminal in Russia's Samara region. MND is a part of the KKCG group.
MND is the Czech Republic's largest gas and oil producer, engaged in projects within the country as well as abroad. Among its activities is also oil and gas exploration and construction of gas reservoirs.
Russia's domestic appliances market
At the same time, Czech economy-oriented daily Hospodářské noviny run a story about Peter Kellner, the richest Czech, planning to add new acquisition to his Russian portfolio.
Kellner is the owner of PPF, an investment group. According to the daily, PPF's Jiří Šmejc, who directs the group's activities in Russia, is in the middle of negotiations over buying a control share of M.Video, a Russian company that dominates the local market with domestic appliances.
Recently, PPF gained control of Eldorado, a company that controls 21 percent of the Russian market with domestic appliances.
"It is a market speculation, which we never comment on," said Milan Tománek, PPF's spokesman to the daily.
According to the daily, Šmejc is negotiating with M.Video's majority shareholder and founder Alexander Tynkovan. Tynkovan was quoted by the Moscow Times that his company is prepared to think about merging with its competitor Eldorado in 1-3 years.
Tynkovan owns 68 percent of M.Video, which currently equals roughly EUR 613mil.