Dubai: The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), its sovereign wealth fund, said it plans to ‘multiply’ the number of investments deals with Saudi Arabia by ‘several times’ to seek a large chunk of the pie in one of the Mena region’s fastest growing deal market.

The $700 billion (Dh2.57 trillion) Saudi economy, which derives majority of its revenues from oil, plans to diversify away from its ‘addiction’ to the commodity, and is privatising state-run companies, building new townships, and even selling it as a tourist destination.

“We see strong interest in exploring new joint opportunities among Russian and Saudi business leaders. As Saudi Arabia proceeds with its reforms and transformation, we see enormous potential in our partnership and expect investment levels to multiply by a significant factor this year and further in 2020,” Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment said in a statement. The delegation to Saudi included officials from SIBUR, a petrochemical company, Novomet, a pump manufacturer, and Phosagro, a fertiliser producer headed by Dmitriev.

The fund is interested in opportunities in oil refining, petrochemical, gas chemical and oilfield services sectors, including large-scale petrochemical projects in Russia, a rubber production project in Saudi Arabia, and joint oil and gas equipment manufacturing projects in Saudi Arabia, which could support a localisation of production.

“We are looking forward to new deals already this year in such sectors as oilfield services, petrochemicals and gas chemicals,” Khalid Al Falih, Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Minister said.

Saudi Arabia’s own Public Investment Fund which has a total of $300 billion of assets under management plans to take it to $2 trillion by 2030 as it plans to expand its overseas investments, RDIF has a $10 billion investment partnership with PIF, with over $2 billion already invested in projects such as Pulkovo International Airport in St. Petersburg and the construction of a toll road bypassing Kutuzovsky Prospekt.

“The opportunities are in the oil sector that is upstream and downstream. A lot of opportunities are also coming up in education and health care and infrastructure,” Faisal Hasan, head of investment research at Kamco Investment Company told Gulf News. “Saudi is the biggest market in the region, so there is a critical mass in terms of population. So there is a huge opportunity for expansion and growth.”

Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), the foreign investment promotion agency for the Kingdom, and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the International Financial Centre in Abu Dhabi, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote investment, industry and trade cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Through the agreement, the two parties will support economic and commercial information exchange through trade and investment seminars; promote investment activities by hosting roadshows, forums and workshops to attract potential investors; and boost key industry sectors through joint initiatives.