JCDecaux expands in Russia and eyes giant Moscow bus shelter contract

Russia under president Vladimir Putin may be a dangerous place for Pussy Riot band members but big companies from across the spectrum are crossing their fingers and legs and heading for what’s rapidly becoming Europe’s biggest market.

BP, whose boss Bob Dudley recently had to go into hiding to evade the attentions of his oligarch enemies at ‘joint venture’ TNK-BP, has persuaded his board, although not all of his shareholders, that committing the oil giant’s future to Russia through a stake in state-owned Rosneft is a good idea while outdoor giant JC Decaux is trying to buy a 25 per cent stake in Russ Outdoor (formerly owned by News Corporation) while it prepares a bid for Moscow’s 11,000 bus shelters (London has about 5,000).

The outdoor market in Russia is estimated to be worth $1.3bn with Russ Outdoor accounting for $300m on its 40,000 billboards. A Moscow bus shelter win (Decaux makes most of its $2.5bn a year putting posters on them all over the world) would give the French-owned company a dominant position in the Russian outdoor market.

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