Gerhard Pfeifer: Sanctions affect us but not directly

Gerhard Pfeifer: Sanctions affect us but not directly
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Authorized representative of Bosch group in Russia and CIS, President and Director General of “Robert Bosch”Ltd. Gerhard Pfeifer told the magazine “” of the company’s strategy and special projects on the territory of Russia


— Mr. Pfeifer, how much do the crisis and ruble volatility impact the activity of Bosch company in Russia and the prices of your products? When, do you think there will be “light at the end of the tunnel”?

— Unfortunately we do not have full-scale immunity against economic recession. That’s why in 2014 our sales in euro decreased by 9% as compared with 2013. But in rubles we managed to achieve planned numbers in spite of the hard economic conditions.
This year has been rather complex. Though the sales grew in the first quarter, we’re expecting a significant decrease by the end of 2015. Still, we are working up the market in many directions. It means that we will have a good position at the market when the crisis is over. And we expect economic restoration in 2017.

— Do the sanctions against Russia, recently prolonged by EC, affect the activity of Bosch group in Russia? Does the company feel any pressure from German authorities and European bodies because of your active work in Russia?
— Of course, the hard economic situation directly affects our partners’ business. We see that it is much more difficult for them to finance various projects. That’s why a large number of them have been postponed or canceled. Thus, answering your question, I can say that sanctions affect us but not directly, implicitly.

— Recently Bosch company opened a plant for the production of steel utility-type euro-radiators in Engels, Saratov region. What are the volumes of investment and production?
— The plant in Engels is not the first Bosch enterprise in Russia. Bosch GC successful localization history started in 1996. By now we have four enterprises, including the two new ones we are very proud of – the plants representing “thermal techniques” business, which we have built during the last two years. The total investment for these two enterprises was about 30 million euro. And the production volumes will depend on the market consumption. Now I can say, that we see good demand for our products, especially produced locally. They win the greater part of the market.

— By the way, how many Bosch plants work in Russia now?
— Our biggest plant is situated in St.Petersburg, consumer electronics (refrigerators and washing machines) are produced there. The second largest enterprise, as I have already said, is in Saratov. Besides, vehicle components production was opened in Samara on July 2.

— Bosch traditionally delivers electric power tools for Russian constructors. How can you characterize the situation at your plant producing “blue series”, i.e. professional, electric power tools?
— This enterprise feels good. We output there both for the Russian market and for the export. This fact proves that the quality and reliability of products made in Russia are highly competitive with their analogs, produced in Europe. Now we are considering the proposal on the expansion of electric power tools production range, made in Engels.

— Mr. Pfeifer, what do you like in Russia besides business? How do you spend your leisure time, what are you fond of?
— Russia is a vast country with rich history and culture. Wonderful people live here. There are impressive landscapes. To put a long story short, there are lots of things to discover and admire.

— Thank you for the interview, Mr. Pfeifer! We wish you success in your business!

Alexander Gusev, Andrei Chernakov