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Thanks to the good connections in the Kremlin, the technology giant is doing very well in Russia.
It was a gloomy February day and the financial crisis was raging outside, when the Austrian Peter Löscher had his Siemens board member jetted to Moscow - and attended the regular meeting. The gentlemen from Munich also met Vladimir Putin, who was Prime Minister back then, in 2009. Today's Kremlin boss loves such symbolism: Siemens stands by the Russian market, while other investors keep their money safe. After all, the Russian economy slid into a severe recession that gloomy year.
The reward was not long in coming: Siemens got access to a joint venture with the Russian locomotive manufacturer Sinara; In its factory in the Urals, the partners build locomotives worth 2.5 billion euros. The customer is the Russian state railway RZD, which is in charge of Vladimir Yakunin, a Duz friend of Putin. Siemens is also in the business of modernizing power lines; the Munich-based company is building transformers in a plant in the south of the country. This year there are new deliveries for the ICE, which is called “Sapsan” in Russia and, thanks to the full equipment, also brings in more money for the group than the trains that Deutsche Bahn receives.
Despite the successes in Russia, Peter Löscher had to resign, and the well-connected and skilful Russia boss Dietrich Möller is about to retire. Whether Russia will be a success for the new CEO Joe Kaeser will likely depend on his relationship with Putin. Anyone who wants to get the icing on the cake in Russia has to deal with that. Löscher benefits from this even after he was kicked out: the oligarch Viktor Wekselberg hired him for his Swiss holding company Renova Management.
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