US leads ventures in Eastern Europe

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The Independent Online
NEW YORK - American companies are outpacing their West European rivals in investment in Eastern Europe, according to a survey conducted by the East European Investment Magazine, based here, writes Michael Marray.

The survey found that American companies were at the top of the list both in the total value and number of deals announced during the 12-month period ended September 1992, with 219 acquisitions, joint ventures or greenfield investments.

This amounted to a planned investment of almost dollars 8bn, pushing Italian and UK companies into second and third places respectively. Germany was ranked fourth, though most German companies are pre-occupied with domestic investment in what was East Germany, which does not show up in the figures.

For American companies, the most popular target out of the 28 countries that formerly made up the eastern bloc is Russia, which was involved in 78 deals worth dollars 3.2bn, including an oil and gas industry venture from Conoco. Chevron is investing in an oilfield in neighbouring Kazakhstan.

After Russia come Poland, with 29 deals valued at dollars 1.5bn, what was Czechoslovakia with 28 deals valued at dollars 660m, and Hungary with 39 deals worth dollars 640m. These included a venture by Philip Morris in Czechoslovakia.