Business in Brief

Vekselberg-Chemezov Deal



Billionaire Viktor Vekselberg and state-owned Russian Technologies will develop a metals business, Kommersant said Monday, citing unidentified people familiar with the plans.

Vekselberg's Renova Group and Russian Technologies' arms-dealing unit, Rosoboronexport, formed a joint venture in the fall of last year, the newspaper said. The venture is called RusInvestPartner and headed by Vitaly Potylitsyn, Kommersant said.

The venture may be given shares of VSMPO-Avisma, a titanium maker controlled by Russian Technologies, Kommersant said. (Bloomberg)




Nord Stream Costs Higher



Gazprom said Monday that the costs of the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea would be "substantially higher" than initially thought.

Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told Ekho Moskvy radio that the increase in costs was coming on the back of higher global steel and services prices.

The Nord Stream consortium, led by Gazprom with 51 percent, has estimated the project's costs at 5 billion euros ($7.28 billion), but signaled that they might hit 8 billion euros. (Reuters)




Inter RAO Cuts Exports



Inter RAO, the electricity-trading arm of Unified Energy System, cut exports and increased imports for at least the second year due to an energy deficit in its domestic market, UES said Monday.

Inter RAO exported 6.6 percent less electricity last year, or 19.1 billion kilowatt-hours, UES said in a statement. Imports increased by 9.8 percent to 5.6 billion kilowatt-hours. (Bloomberg)




Lisin Buys St. Pete Port



ST. PETERSBURG -- Universal Cargo Logistics Holding, controlled by billionaire Vladimir Lisin, bought 97 percent of the port in St. Petersburg, the port said Monday.

Universal Cargo, which is registered in the Netherlands, also bought the four stevedore companies operating at the terminal, the port said. The shares were sold by Jysk Stalindustry ApS and Chupit, the statement said. The financial terms were not disclosed.

Closely held Universal Cargo aims to "consolidate its transport assets, including sea, river and rail transport, as well as those in the stevedore business," it said in a statement. (Bloomberg)




Turkmen-EU Energy Talks



ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan -- Turkmen energy officials will visit Brussels this week to discuss cooperation, state media reported Monday, in the latest bout of energy diplomacy surrounding the long-reclusive Caspian nation.

A delegation led by Tachberdy Tagiyev, deputy prime minister in charge of energy issues, will hold talks in Brussels on Feb. 14 to 17, Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper reported. It did not say which projects would be discussed. (Reuters)




Eldorado Planning IPO



Eldorado Group, the country's largest electronics retailer, is planning an initial public offering to fund expansion in western Europe, billionaire owner Igor Yakovlev said, Vedomosti reported Monday.

Eldorado may sell as much as 30 percent of the company in an IPO in 2009 or 2010 and may sell a stake to an investment bank beforehand, Yakovlev, who is also the company's president, told the newspaper.

The company is talking with investment banks about buying stakes in international electronics chains, Yakovlev said. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



Peter Hambro Mining, the second-largest producer of gold in Russia, said Monday that it expected its production to be about 900,000 ounces in 2010 and in excess of 1 million ounces in 2011. (Bloomberg)

Car drivers in Turkmenistan started paying eight times more for their gasoline on Monday as part of the government's effort to push the Soviet-style economy toward a free-market model. (Reuters)

Russian refining runs fell by 1.3 percent in December compared with November on a daily basis, mainly due to seasonal factors and higher oil exports via sea ports, Industry and Energy Ministry data showed Monday. (Reuters)

Oil Exports Via Estonia Fall

TALLINN, Estonia -- Russian oil shipments through Estonia fell 24 percent last month from a year earlier as tensions between the former Soviet countries showed no sign of abating.

Cargo companies using the tracks of Estonia's rail-freight operator Eesti Raudtee transported 1.75 million tons of oil and oil products in January, compared with 2.29 million tons a year earlier, the Tallinn-based company said Monday. Russia has shipped fewer goods through Estonia since May last year. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil Wins Bid Approval

LUKoil, the country's largest independent oil producer, said Monday that it had received board approval to buy 82 percent of TGK-8, a power generator in southern Russia, for cash and shares.

LUKoil will transfer 23.6 million treasury shares valued at $70.15 apiece, the company said in a statement.

IFD Kapital Group, owned by LUKoil chief executive Vagit Alekperov and his deputy, Leonid Fedun, has bought control of the generator since offering 41 billion rubles ($1.7 billion) for new TGK-8 shares and the government's stake in October. (Bloomberg)

Novatek Considers Buyback

Novatek, the country's largest natural gas producer not owned by the state, said Monday that it might buy back as much as 3 percent of outstanding shares after the board approved the plan.

The shares will be bought back "on a long-term basis" via the company's Global Depositary Receipts, Novatek said. The repurchased shares will be used for "future financing activities" and for an employee stock-based compensation program. (Bloomberg)