VEB Boosted 2009 Lending for Industry, Infrastructure

VEB, Russia’s state development bank, boosted its infrastructure and industry lending 77 percent last year to 230 billion rubles ($7.4 billion), Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

“Even though the bank devoted significant funds to anti-crisis measures, which were successful, it still increased its investment portfolio,” Putin said at a meeting today outside Moscow. The bank had a 20 billion ruble profit in the first quarter, VEB Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Dmitriev told reporters.

VEB took on 24 new investment projects last year and is considering an 11 billion ruble loan for construction of a lumber mill in Vanino in the Far East, where the lender is also backing a sea terminal. VEB is helping finance two ice-class tankers for state shipping company OAO Sovcomflot with a 240 million euro loan, Dmitriev said. The vessels, one of which has already been delivered, will be used to ship oil from Murmansk to China, he said.

“Russia has never built ships of this class,” Putin said. “VEB is contributing to the technological advancement of domestic industry to the maximum.”

(Corrects attribution to Putin starting in first paragraph.)
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