Business in Brief

Rosneft to Reorganize Debt



Rosneft won government approval to reorganize $1.3 billion of debt it acquired in buying oil unit Yuganskneftegaz from bankrupt Yukos, Vedomosti reported Thursday.

Rosneft was allowed to pay down the $1.3 billion over five years, including 10 percent of the total this year, Vedomosti said, citing people it did not identify. Each year the payments will increase, the report said. (Bloomberg)




Mineral Deposit Sales in '08



KHABAROVSK -- The country plans in 2008 to sell at least two of four large mineral deposits, including the Sukhoi Log gold and Udokan copper fields and the Sakhalin-3 oil and gas field, Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev said Thursday.

Trutnev, addressing a meeting at which presidential candidate Dmitry Medvedev was present, also named the Yuzhno-Yakutskoye coal deposit as a potential candidate for a government selloff this year. (Reuters)




Kazakh Oil, Mining Deals



ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan may terminate oil and mining contracts with foreign and domestic companies after President Nursultan Nazarbayev urged the state to increase its role in the energy industry, Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov said Thursday.

"The contracts must be annulled and returned to the state if obligations for the development of deposits are not honored," Masimov said. (Bloomberg)




Potash Licenses in Doubt



The country may amend potash-mining licenses held by Silvinit and Uralkali in favor of state-controlled titanium producer VSMPO-Avisma, Vedomosti reported Thursday.

The Natural Resources Ministry, fertilizer producers and VSMPO owner Russian Technologies also agreed that the winner of a March auction for three sites at the Verkhnekamskoye potash deposit would be required to supply VSMPO with carnallite, used to make titanium, a ministry spokesman said, the newspaper reported. (Bloomberg)




$3.4Bln Kazakh Pipeline



ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan said Thursday that it planned to spend about $3.4 billion on a pipeline to take natural gas from the Caspian Sea through the country's south and on to China by 2011.

The project will transport as much as 5 billion cubic meters of Caspian gas per year along the Beyneu-Bozoy-Samsonovka link, said Uzakbai Karabalin, the chief executive of energy producer KazMunaiGaz. (Bloomberg)




Trade Surplus Narrows



The trade surplus narrowed to $152.8 billion last year, the Federal Customs Service said Thursday.

The trade surplus narrowed from $163.4 billion in 2006, the service said in an e-mailed statement. (Bloomberg)




Norilsk Interest in Refiner



BERLIN -- Norddeutsche Affinerie, Europe's biggest copper refiner, rose Thursday in Frankfurt trading after Austrian magazine Format said Norilsk Nickel might make a bid.

Norilsk, the world's biggest producer of nickel, may bid about 35 euros ($51) per share, Format reported, citing unidentified bankers. (Bloomberg)




Karimov Avoided Gas Talks



Uzbek President Islam Karimov avoided the subject of natural gas prices during talks with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, Kommersant reported, citing an unidentified participant of the Kremlin summit.

Gazprom chief Alexei Miller later asked himself why he attended the four-hour talks, the newspaper said, citing the participant. Kommersant said Wednesday that energy would be the main topic of the meeting. (Bloomberg)




Indian Plant Ban May End



The country will lift a ban on Indian imports of tobacco, mixed vegetables, dried mushrooms and onions, imposed after the hygiene watchdog found Khapra beetles in shipments from the Asian country, the Agriculture Ministry said Wednesday.

Russia agreed "in principle" to resume the imports after talks between the agriculture minister and India's ambassador, the ministry said in a statement. Imports of most plant products from India were banned Jan. 28. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom Exports Less



Gazprom shipped 5.8 percent less fuel abroad last year as milder weather reduced demand, the Industry and Energy Ministry said late Wednesday.

Exports to European markets, including the Baltic states, fell 5 percent to 153.67 billion cubic meters, the ministry said in a statement on its web site. Total exports fell 5.8 percent to 191 million cubic meters. (Bloomberg)




VSMPO Stake May Be Sold



Russian Technologies may sell 16 percent of VSMPO-Avisma, the world's largest titanium producer, said the state-controlled holding company's deputy general director, Alexei Alyoshin, Vedomosti reported Thursday.

Russian Technologies may sell the shares to a bank and has had talks with potential investors, the newspaper quoted an official close to the holding company as saying. (Bloomberg)




Sanoma Drops on Q4 Fall



HELSINKI -- SanomaWSOY Oyj, the Nordic region's largest media company, fell as much as 5.9 percent, the most in more than two years, in Helsinki trading after fourth-quarter profit dropped more than expected.

In a statement, the company said it planned to shorten its name to Sanoma Oyj. The change will be decided at the shareholders meeting in April.

Sanoma's Russian subsidiary, Independent Media Sanoma Magazines, is the parent company of The Moscow Times. (Bloomberg)




SocGen Completes Purchase



KIEV -- Societe Generale completed the acquisition of Ikar-bank, a Ukrainian lender, Ekonomicheskiye Izvestia newspaper said Thursday, without saying where it got the information.

Societe Generale now owns 96.78 percent of the Donetsk-based Ikar-bank, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



Image Holding, the Ukrainian producer of Khortytsa vodka, plans to build a plant in Russia to increase its local market share, Kommersant reported Thursday. (Bloomberg)

Power producer OGK-5 said Wednesday that its general director, Anatoly Bushin, would leave his post March 31. (Reuters)

Partners in a proposed gas pipeline through Afghanistan will meet in Pakistan in April to discuss ways to breathe new life into the stalled project, a Turkmen government source said Thursday. (Reuters)

Supermarket chain Dixy Group plans to open 100 outlets this year, president Vitaly Klyuchnikov said Wednesday, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)