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Rusnano 'checking out' Hyperloop project — official

September 06, 14:26 UTC+3 VLADIVOSTOK
According to Chubais, the company has discussed the issue with market players that have direct contacts with Hyperloop
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© AP Photo/John Locher

VLADIVOSTOK, September 6. /TASS/. Russia’s technology investment group Rusnano is "eyeing" the Hyperloop high-speed train project, сhairman of the executive board Anatoly Chubais told TASS at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).

"Speaking frankly, we’re interested, we’re eying it though so far we’re not ready to take any financial decisions," he said when asked a respective question.

According to Chubais, the company has discussed the issue with market players that have direct contacts with Hyperloop. "As you know currently Russian Railways are mulling the project of high-speed railroads. Hyperloop will be the next technological reallocation. We’re clearly interested in it as carbon-fiber epoxy will be needed there 100%," he said, adding that apart from the carbon composite material the project will require "tens of technological components."

The Hyperloop train technology, an invention of billionaire Elon Musk, makes it possible to produce trains with the highest speed for a contemporary mode of ground transport. Musk’s idea consists in the fact that capsules with passengers and cargoes will move in tubes installed above the surface, in which technical vacuum will be maintained at a speed of 1,220 kilometers per hour with intervals of no more than 30 seconds.

Rusnano in talks with Malaysian partners over joint fund creation

The technology investment group is also considering the opportunity of creating a joint fund with Malaysian partners, Chubais went on to say.

"We’re having an interesting dialogue with Malaysia with challenging high-tech capacity, which is interested in creating a fund. They’re well aware of what it is," he said.

"We’re in talks and hopefully they will be effective," Chubais added.

According to Chairman, Rusnano is also seeking cooperation with other countries of South-Eastern Asia, unlike the countries of the Latin America. "In Latin America, among the countries that have two types of capacity (regarding nanotechnologies themselves and private equity industry, meaning setting up funds) are Brazil, Argentina, maybe Mexico to a lesser extent. But Brazil is facing a deep economic crisis, which has turned into a political crisis. In Argentina, a new president took office not long ago," Chubais said, adding Rusnano is not active in those countries as it considers "expenses on creation (of funds) there are bigger than the potential result."

Cooperation with Japan’s JBIC

Rusnano is mulling the opportunity of creating a joint fund with Japan’s Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). According to Anatoly Chubais, the sides are currently searching for a technology partner.

"We know JBIC very well, I’ve met its president who told me that they’re interested in cooperation with Rusnano but they need a technology partner since they’re financiers and we’re financiers. We need to add a big technology partner and only then will we seriously discuss (creation of - TASS) a fund," Chubais told TASS at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).

According to the Chairman, the improvement of political ties with Japan will only facilitate the process.

"Almost each time the hurdles we face are political rather than economic," he said. "If I get it right we’ve had some progress in the relations with Japan over the past half a year. We see President Vladimir Putin often meeting their Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Taking into consideration all contacts that we’ve had (I met Abe in Japan regarding our projects) we hope very much that political restrictions will be lifted and our cooperation with Japan will boost sharply," Chubais said, adding though that it is too early to speak about particular new projects.

"We have fairly good contacts with Japan, both with leading Japanese companies, and with financial structures, there are projects as well," he said, adding that the corporation is interested in enhancing cooperation with the country, and mentioned the project with Sumitomo on construction of a plant in Siberia as an example of effective cooperation. "We’re satisfied, and we plan the construction of the second line there," he said.

Rusnano and Inter RAO energy fund

The investment group may create an energy fund with Inter RAO in 2017.

"We have good relations with Inter RAO. We are seriously discussing the idea of ··creating an energy fund, private equty/venture capital fund aimed at the energy sector, including generation," he said. "We might consider 2017 as a possible time," Chubais said.

Apart from Rusnano and Inter RAO, other companies might participate in the creation of the fund, according to Chubais. "The fund’s volume is not clear, since the composition of the participants is not yet set," he said, adding that partners expect other generators to participate in the fund.

The companies began to discuss establishment of the fund 3-4 months ago. "There is quite a large list of things that needs to be done in generation, in Russia as well. The idea is to raise money together to form a list of priority projects, understanding that this way power companies might be not only investors in the fund, but also potential consumers - this is the story where you have the investor and the market in the same industry," Head of Rusnano said.

Chubais also spoke about work of Rusnano and Inter RAO with the support of Russian Technologies on creating a high power Russian gas turbine. "The work is progressing well, we hope that we can get the most operational Russian gas turbine throughout the year," Head of Rusnano said.

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