Hettie (hettie_lz) wrote,

Санкции США и ЕЭС против России - как они влияют на бизнес в Иллинойсе.

В сегодняшней Трибуне это первополосная статья. (По ссылке должно быть видно всем, но я еще выложу полный текст).

Очень подробный анализ того, каким именно образом состояние российской экономики влияет на разные бизнесы в Иллинойсе, и заодно некоторый анализ состояния российских рынков (впрочем, ничего принципиально нового по сравнению с тем, что я читала в последнюю неделю в отечественных комментариях). Больше всего страдает, естественно, интернет - бизнес (BayRu). Но кроме него, как я узнала, санкции сильно отдаются и на Катерпилла, и на Джон Дир, и на Боинге. Я не знала, кстати, что в 2013 году Рам посылал в Россию почти что Великое Посольство - торговую миссию, "синхронизированную" с гастролями CSO :). Не знала, что Катерпилла предсказывала необходимость обновления до 70% всего парка российской сельхозтехники.

Мне кажется, что статья очень взвешенная, без нагнетания, но - с трезвой оценкой.

Not so long ago, Illinois companies were gazing fondly at Russia as a vast market for everything from Big Macs to bulldozers.

Russia "has a population of 142 million with a rapidly growing middle class ... clearly there is tremendous opportunity," Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman told Congress in June 2012, arguing for normalizing trade. President Barack Obama signed trade normalization legislation later that year.

The same year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent a World Business Chicago delegation on a trade mission to the former Soviet republic, synchronizing the visit with a Chicago Symphony Orchestra tour. And former Mayor Richard Daley appointed one of his top lieutenants to head Tur Partners, the Russia- and China-focused investment and advisory firm he founded after leaving office in 2011.

The days of great promise, however, have ground to a halt. The Russian economy — battered by U.S. and European Union economic sanctions over Russia's intervention in Ukraine, falling oil prices, the decline of the ruble and the flight of investment capital — teeters near recession. The International Monetary Fund last month cut Russia's 2015 growth forecast in half, to 0.5 percent.

As tensions with Ukraine move into their ninth month and the White House hints that more sanctions may be in the offing, the conflict stands as a reminder of the risks involved in pursuing growth in emerging economies — a cautionary tale in a world where trade knows fewer and fewer boundaries and where regional prosperity depends on global reach.

Caught in uncomfortable positions are a wide array of Illinois firms with a presence in Russia. They include multinationals such as McDonald's, Caterpillar, John Deere, Boeing and Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), as well as smaller firms, such as Internet marketer BayRu. Some companies are starting to experience dents in earnings while others expect pain next year. Some are crafting contingency plans to avoid disruptions in the flow of critical supplies, and others are carefully calibrating the pace of expansion plans.

"Russia was always a future growth market ... but for now, it remains a manana market," said Lawrence De Maria, co-head of the global industrial infrastructure group at William Blair & Co., referring to the market's stalled growth.

A relatively minor trade partner for the Chicago area, Russia still matters greatly because of its potential. Boeing, for instance, estimates Russia will need 1,330 new airplanes, valued at $150 billion, over the next 20 years. Caterpillar estimates the nation needs to replace 70 percent of its agricultural machinery.

The sanctions, which target Russia's financial services, energy and defense sectors, have forced some oil industry giants such as Texas-based ExxonMobil to step away from massive joint ventures with Russian partners. Locally, the sanctions' effects appear to be less direct but increasingly noticeable.

Oak Brook-based McDonald's, a pioneer in the Russian market, finds itself in the crossfire in a high-profile way.

The fast-food giant opened its first burger-and-fries shop in Moscow's Pushkin Square in 1990, a time when leader Mikhail Gorbachev was advocating glasnost, or a democratization of the political system. Now that flagship store is among nine that remain closed by Russian courts amid consumer safety inspections at more than 200 of the company's 432 stores there — moves widely seen as retaliation for the U.S. economic sanctions.

"It's a shot," said Phil Levy, senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. "The Russians are saying to the U.S.: 'You have a lot invested here. You mess with us. We can mess with you.'"

Russia represents a big chunk of business for the golden arches — about $2.2 billion in sales, according to Euromonitor. As McDonald's outlets in Russia are company-owned, these sales count fully as McDonald's revenue. Worldwide, the company took in $28 billion in revenue last year.

The store closings in Russia as well as some earlier voluntary closings in Crimea, the Ukrainian region annexed by Russia earlier this year, shaved a penny off the company's third-quarter earnings per share, which ended up at $1.09. While not nearly as much as the 15 cents per share lost because of food safety concerns with a supplier in China, some observers say the potential for further damage in Russia is significant.

If the U.S. and European sanctions continue for a prolonged period, it would make it very difficult for the company to continue operating in Russia, said Gary Hufbauer, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

"People can get fast food other places, and McDonald's is a clear U.S. brand — it's kind of symbolic," he said.

The sanctions severely restrict the ability of Russian banks and energy firms to borrow from U.S. financial institutions, which is cutting into the purchasing power of Russian companies, said attorney Janet Kim, a partner at Baker & McKenzie, which has offices in Chicago. The repercussions are starting to be felt in the Midwest.

"Further tightening of credit availability continues to weigh on equipment sales; notably, Western equipment manufacturers are being impacted," Susan Karlix, a spokeswoman for Deere, told analysts during the company's most recent earnings announcement. The Moline-based agricultural equipment-maker has two factories in Russia.

Like many multinationals, Deere does not break out results by country. And like many companies contacted for this story, including Tur Partners, it declined interview requests.

Peoria-based construction and mining equipment-maker Caterpillar, which operates a plant near St. Petersburg in Russia, said its third-quarter sales declined in the former Soviet republic.

"Political conflicts and social unrest continue to disrupt economic activity," Mike DeWalt, vice president of Caterpillar's strategic services division, said during the earnings call. Russia is also among the company's top 15 export markets, with its U.S. factories shipping nearly $2 billion in equipment to Russia between 2009 and 2013.

Chicago-based commercial real estate firm JLL, or Jones Lang LaSalle, said its Russia business held steady this year, but the situation in leasing and sales of properties is shifting.

"Things that were in motion generally were completed," said CEO Colin Dyer. "But transactions are slowing down quickly. No one is initiating anything new."

Meanwhile, the severe devaluation of the ruble against the dollar is making U.S. products much costlier for Russian consumers. For high-flying e-commerce firm BayRu, this means 2014 may be its first year without rocketing growth.

"Russian consumers who were very confident about buying branded goods from all over the world now look like consumers did in the U.S. in 2009," said Aaron Block, chairman of the Morton Grove-based firm that was founded in 2007 by two brothers from Russia. The firm did about $30 million in sales last year.

Ford and GM are experiencing sales declines in Russia, said Gary Litman, vice president for international strategic initiatives at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "The auto industry had been expecting substantial growth ... but consumer credit has severely contracted."

A number of Chicago-area firms report business as usual, or better than usual, in Russia — but still, they are taking defensive steps in an increasingly tense climate. Russia, in retaliatory moves, banned certain food imports from the West in August and restricted foreign ownership of media in October. Now its parliament is weighing a law that would allow the government to seize foreign assets.

Boeing, which looks to Russia as a supplier of lightweight titanium for jet parts and as a major customer for its airplanes, has "accelerated shipments of titanium from our primary supplier in Russia," said spokesman Charlie Miller. "It seemed prudent."

As for plans announced a year ago to work with a Russian partner to replace a titanium parts factory with a newer, larger facility: "We are still exploring it," he said.

Deerfield-based Mondelez International, formerly Kraft's snack business, is finding the Russian appetite for its chocolates, cookies and coffee remains healthy, with double-digit sales gains in the third quarter. CEO Irene Rosenfeld said the company's Russia team was "doing an excellent job of defying gravity." Its Russian sales add up to more than $1 billion annually.

But with Russia's recent bans on food imports, Mondelez is lining up alternative sources for dairy ingredients once received from Europe.

And it is moving ahead with caution on plans to invest more than $100 million in a new factory in Russia.

"We're going to watch that situation very carefully to make sure that we're pacing our investment in the region consistent with what we see happening from a political and economic standpoint," Rosenfeld said.

Tags: media, politics

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