PE Hub’s Dan Primack has an interview with Michael Bleyzer, CEO of Ukraine-based private equity firm SigmaBleyzer, on the impact of the Russia-Georgia conflict and investing in the former Soviet Union.
Dan: Is there much of a private equity market in Georgia?
Michael: I’m not aware of anyone activity investing there, although that doesn’t mean there is nobody. It’s a very small market with just a few real sectors for private equity. There’s some energy with hydroelectric you could do, and maybe something in food.
I went there before Saakashvilli became president, and met with the previous one. I liked the country but just couldn’t find things to do there. My general thought was that small markets on their own are difficult, and this was one with political worries as well.
Dan: You invest in Ukraine. Any worries about your business there, given the speculation that it could be where Russia goes next?
Michael: We invest not only in Ukraine, but also in Khazachstan – and all of that is going to be impacted to some extent by what’s going on. But I don’t see an immediate danger to Ukraine, because it is a much bigger country than Georgia… Its population is one-third of Russia’s. Also, Crimea is not technically a disputed area, like South Ossettia is in Georgia.