By Arun Sudhaman

MOSCOW: One of Russia’s biggest conglomerates is seeking international PR counsel to help it improve its online reputation.

Alfa Group, the financial-industrial giant controlled by high-profile billionaire Mikhail Fridman, is understood to have briefed agencies in London about the assignment, which includes a specific focus on search engine optimisation.

Alfa Group, whose interests include the TNK-BP Russian oil and gas joint venture - along with stakes in banking, retail, telecoms and media - is believed to be keen on improving visibility and online reputation for both the company and for key shareholders.

These shareholders include Fridman and fellow Alfa Group founder Peter Aven. Fridman is listed by Forbes as Russia’s third richest man, with estimated wealth of $12.7 billion.

Other areas of focus are its Alfa Bank venture and its Altimo telecoms investment arm. The brief is targeting an international, English-speaking audience, as the group ramps up its international expansion plans.

Alfa Group strategic planning director Aleksey Savchenko declined to comment on the search.