What have been your major achievements in Kazakhstan?
MAKSIM AGEEV Schneider Electric has developed a strong relationship with some of the largest entities in the oil and gas segment; our local accounts include the likes of TCO, KPO, and NCOC. We have also developed a significant presence in buildings and infrastructure for projects such as stadiums, hospitals, hotels, and banks. In line with this, we have also been developing the metals, metallurgy, and mining segment, which has great potential in Kazakhstan. Looking ahead, there are many targets to be realized; however, we will definitely enter more into green energy, supporting local green initiatives, smart grids and micro grids, eco buildings, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT).
GULMIRA YERDENOVA The last two years have been extremely important for the country in terms of development projects, and we have been working to take part in many of these projects across the country. As a result of these developments, we have grown our revenue by approximately 60% since 2016. We have worked on a number of major ventures in Kazakhstan, including the Nazarbayev University Medical School and pavilion lighting for Expo 2017 in Astana. Many of our projects improve energy consumption while also advancing the country in important ways. We are able to leverage our participation in these to get our name out in Kazakhstan and the wider region.
How important is Kazakhstan and the CIS region for the company globally?
MA The CIS zone is one of the most important for Schneider Electric globally. We are fourth after the US, China, and France in terms of capacity, and Kazakhstan plays an important role in the CIS zone. We will have around 3-4% GDP growth in 2018 compared to 1.2-1.7% in Russia. There are many greenfield projects to develop here, and this market will become more important for us going forward. We already cover Kyrgyzstan from here while Uzbekistan is now in the CIS zone, which could bring huge opportunities given the ongoing legislative and economic reforms there. The idea is to build a so-called “Middle Asian" cluster around Kazakhstan, though there are many things to be done. We are excited about the journey ahead.
GY Kazakhstan is an important country given that it plays a major role in oil production and attracts a great deal of investment. Due to these reasons, we expect to see even more growth here. Such conditions are extremely important for our growth strategy in the country. The president's commitment to energy efficiency has also played a significant role in expanding our LED business and other energy-efficient technologies. Our plan is to expand our business across the industrial sector. Many enterprises require extensive modernization in this sector, and we want to help raise their operations to global standards. Additionally, we are working on developing road lighting for municipalities across the country. At the moment, we will focus on industry and road lighting.
What are your main objectives and expectations for 2018?
MA As with any company, the main target is business growth, which will be through our segments such as oil and gas and construction, and we will also be more visible in the smart cities and mining, metals, and metallurgy segment. There are many opportunities for business in mining, metals, and metallurgy, and we have a great portfolio in this sector in the CIS, though we have not had enough resources thus far to invest and develop this sector. My personal endeavor is for Schneider Electric to become more visible in the local market. We want businesses and people to be aware of Schneider Electric not as a product company but as a digital transformation leader in energy and automation.
GY We do not expect any large events similar to the Expo or Universiade in the near future. Kazakhstan is relatively stable economically and expects GDP growth of around 4.2%. We are closely following the main economic trends in the country. We will focus on improving municipal lighting systems and roadway lighting systems and will work to suggest the best solutions for cities. Smart city projects are also extremely popular in Kazakhstan currently and lighting is the core of any smart city solution. We expect growth throughout 2018, although due to the lack of upcoming landmark events or projects, I do not expect this growth to be as aggressive as in 2017.