MOSCOW Dec 13 French hypermarket operator
Auchan is stepping up its investments in Russia, its
third biggest market, saying the economy there has largely
adapted to sanctions.
Auchan, which entered Russia in 2002, opened its 100th
hypermarket in the country on Tuesday and said it aimed to add
around 10 hypermarkets a year in Russia going forward as well as
Russia's economy and currency were hit hard in 2014 when oil
prices dropped, the West imposed sanctions over Moscow's role in
the Ukraine conflict and Russia retaliated with a food import
ban. Both Western and Russia's sanctions are still in place.
"It's been two years now that sanctions are in place and
Russia's economic model has changed. Customers buy different
products, they have a different consumption model," the
president of Auchan Russia, Jean-Pierre Germain, told reporters.
The company aims to invest 20 billion-30 billion roubles
($330 million-$490 million) a year going forward, he said.
"The investment budget is rising ... and we don't have a
reason to lower it," Germain said.
An Auchan spokeswoman said the company would invest 20
billion-22 billion roubles in Russia this year, up from around
17 billion roubles in 2015, and more in 2017 than in 2016.
Since 2002, Auchan has invested around 200 billion roubles
in opening stores in the country, now its third-biggest market
by revenue after France and China.
It is also building a 2.5 billion rouble meat processing
plant in the Tambov region in central Russia, which is due to
open early in 2017.
($1 = 60.8460 roubles)
(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova and Olga Sichkar; Editing by