Elbrus aims to deliver in Russia

Elbrus has invested in Russian delivery business SPSR-Express. It's the first deal from its second fund, which is now more than half way to its $500m target.

Elbrus Capital has made the first investment from its new fund by acquiring an undisclosed stake in SPSR-Express, a Russian delivery company, the Moscow-based firm said in a statement. Details of the transaction were undisclosed.

SPSR-Express provides mail and cargo delivery services to both businesses and consumers, covering more than 6000 Russian cities and towns. The business has 200 branches, nine distribution centres and employs about 4000 full time staff.

Dmitri Krukov, a managing partner at Elbrus, said that the “significant growth of the Russian economy, the development of the inter-regional business connections in Russia and the development of e-commerce” have resulted in “accelerated growth” in the express delivery market.

Elbrus declined to comment beyond the statement.

It is the first transaction from the Elbrus Fund II, which was launched earlier this year and is targeting $500 million. The fund has so far collected $300 million from investors, a source close to the matter told Private Equity International, having held a first close on $200 million in August.

JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft, which is a development finance subsidiary of German lender KfW Bankengruppe are understood to be among the investors in the Elbrus Fund II, the source added.

In August, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said it would invest up to $50 million and act as a cornerstone investor in Elbrus Fund II, but would not exceed 25 percent of aggregate commitments to the fund. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) also said it had committed $20 million.

Russia is attracting attention from investors because of its strong GDP growth figures. However, governance concerns remain: in the 2011 Corruption Perception Index, carried out by anti-corruption organisation Transparency International, Russia was ranked a lowly 143rd out of the 182 countries on the list.