Issue 6, 2015. December-January

   

From Airplanes and Blueberries to Hydro Power: Georgia's Partnership Fund Invests in Innovation

The state-owned Georgian Partnership Fund will go through a rebranding and structural transition in 2016. Investor.ge spoke with the deputy CEO of the Partnership fund, Natia Turnava, about the fund's projects and its plans, including a $1 billion investment in Nenskra HPP with South Korea's K Water Company and an initiative to sell Georgian blueberries in the European market.

Lika Jorjoliani

Georgian Partnership Fund Deputy CEO Natia Turnava

With a $1 billion portfolio and assets worth $3.5 billion, the Georgian Partnership Fund is gearing up for more investment in innovation in 2016. New projects and a new mandate will help the Fund identify and support "potential opportunities for business development," Georgian Partnership Fund Deputy CEO Natia Turnava told Investor.ge.

A billion in hydro

One of the biggest projects the Fund is currently involved in is a $1 billion investment implemented by South Korean State Corporation of Water Resources, K Water, to construct and launch the 280-megawatt Nenskra Hydro Power Plant.

"The K Water company is ready to develop cooperation in other projects," Turnava said, noting potential investments include water-supply infrastructure and small and medium hydro power plants. Other successful projects for the fund include the Gardabanigas-fire thermal power station, which generates 239 megawatts.

From Guria to the UK

The fund has also been active in the agriculture sector, especially in preparing high-value export to the European market.

Turnava said the fund is cooperating with the Georgian Company Van Rikto expand its Gurian plantation and packaging lines to export fresh and frozen blueberries.

"Blueberries are being exported in the CIS and European countries. The first batch has already been sent to Great Britain," she said.

Turnava added that the fund is also looking at partnerships with other agricultural projects, including a salads and greens company in the western region of Imereti, a pig farm in Tetritskaro municipality and the processing of Georgian olives and sunflower oil in Kakheti in eastern Georgia.

"The main purpose of the fund is to finance projects that will assist in import substitution and increase exports," she said, noting Grant Thornton is working with the fund to prepare proposals on investment opportunities, especially in the agricultural-processing industry.

$85 million in aircraft part manufacturing

Turnava said the fund is partnering with the Israeli company Elbit Cyclone to manufacture aircraft parts and details for civilian aircraft. The $85 million project, which will be located near the Tbilisi International Airport, is slated to start production in 2018, she said.

The fund has also been involved in a $6 million project to produce construction materials, namely polyurethane sandwich panels; the factory was completed in June 2015 and has already started working, Turnava said.

New structure for the fund


Turnava said the fund is "in a period of transition" heading into 2016, as it works to improve its structure and expand on its investment rights.

She noted that German and French consultants are currently working with the fund to help it create an "improved and modernized model" that will "stabilize" the fund's financing and allow it to coordinate with "different sectorial funds and donor programs."

"We focus our attention not only on the commercial feasibility of projects but also on the positive social or macroeconomic effects that these projects could bring to the country," she said.