Kremlin seeks Western capital with bond issue

A RUSSIAN delegation will arrive in London this week to announce an &pound;11bn bond issue as it seeks Western investment in its struggling economy.<br /><br />Deputy prime minister Alexei Kudrin, who is also Russia&rsquo;s finance minister, will meet business secretary Peter Mandelson, bringing with him senior figures from the Russian central bank and finance ministry, as well as top business people.<br /><br />The bond issue will be announced when they meet on Thursday<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m delighted that deputy prime minister Kudrin is coming to the UK,&rdquo; said Lord Mandelson. &ldquo;This is an important opportunity for us to build on our strong trade relationship with Russia.&rdquo;<br /><br />The Eurobond issue is planned for the first quarter of next year, probably in February. It will be Russia&rsquo;s first since 1998, and is intended to cover budget deficits up until 2012.<br /><br />Foreign secretary David Miliband arrived in Russia yesterday. Although his brief is primarily political, one of his engagements will be hosting a business breakfast with British companies in Russia, including Deloites, HSBC and JCB.<br /><br />Russia is the UK&rsquo;s 12th largest export market. More than 1,000 UK companies operate in Russia, and the estimated cumulative British investment in Russia is &pound;26.7bn.