Business in Brief

Kiriyenko Changes Jobs



Nuclear energy chief Sergei Kiriyenko was dismissed by Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov to take over Rosatom, the new state-run nuclear energy and arms company, RIA-Novosti said Monday.

Zubkov removed Kiriyenko as head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, a statement on the government's web site said. Zubkov named Kiriyenko's former deputy, Ivan Kamenskikh, as acting head. (Bloomberg)




Evraz Unit Targeted



The country's environmental watchdog said Monday that it was seeking a court ruling to halt work at a west Siberian unit of Evraz Group, 40 percent owned by Roman Abramovich, for environmental damage.

A two-year investigation found the Novokuznetsk Metallurgical Plant dumped contaminants in local rivers. It had been ordered by the courts to clean up the pollution but had failed to do so adequately, the agency said. (MT)




Sistema Raises Bank Stake



Sistema has paid $107.5 million to raise its share in commercial bank Dalcombank to 98.65 percent from 48.16 percent, the company said Monday.

Sistema said in a statement that it acquired the shares in Dalcombank, based in the Far East, for 7.4 rubles per share. It announced a public offer in November and completed the acquisition Wednesday. (Reuters)




Rostelecom's Latvian Interest



VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Rostelecom, Russia's dominant fixed-line long-distance telephone company, is interested in bidding for a stake in Latvia's Lattelecom SIA, said Russia's Ambassador to Latvia, Viktor Kalyuzhny, Telegraf newspaper reported Monday.

Rostelecom may participate if Latvia holds a tender to sell shares in the company that would allow bidders from outside of the European Union, Kalyuzhny said. (Bloomberg)




Premiers Ask EU for Study



VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Poland and the three Baltic states will ask the European Commission to finance a study of an alternative route for Gazprom's planned Nord Stream pipeline, economy ministers for the four countries said Monday.

Polish Economy Minister Waldemar Pawlak and his Baltic counterparts Kaspars Gerhards of Latvia, Estonia's Juhan Parts and Lithuania's Vytas Navickas will consider a proposed rival link, they said at a news conference. (Bloomberg)




AvtoVAZ Drops Magna Deal



AvtoVAZ may partner with Renault to assemble new car models in Russia, scrapping an agreement with Canadian auto-parts maker Magna, Vedomosti reported Monday.

The newspaper quoted two sources close to AvtoVAZ as saying Renault had proposed alternative plans for the expansion and modernization of AvtoVAZ's assembly lines. Renault in December agreed to buy 25 percent of AvtoVAZ. (Reuters)




Mild Winter Hurts Novatek



Novatek, the country's largest independent natural gas producer, said Monday that gas production fell 0.7 percent last year because of a warmer-than-average winter.

Output fell to 28.5 billion cubic meters in 2007 from 28.7 bcm the previous year, the company said. Liquids production dropped 0.5 percent to 2.49 million tons, the company said. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom Neft's 2020 Goals



Gazprom Neft plans to double crude production by the end of next decade by developing Arctic fields and investing $70 billion, the company said Monday.

The oil unit of Gazprom wants to pump as much as 90 million tons by 2020, chief executive Alexander Dyukov said in an interview published in Kommersant. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



Abu Dhabi Group will spend $250 million to open a bank and five-star hotel and to invest in a wireless Internet business in Georgia, a spokesman said Monday. (Bloomberg)

Severstal said Monday that it had restarted a furnace shut after an accident at the company's largest mill killed one worker and injured two. (Bloomberg)

Billionaire Richard Branson is looking at telecommunications, Internet and music businesses in Russia, Vedomosti reported Monday. (Bloomberg)

Rosneft has dropped its bid for a stake in Slantsy, a processing plant for shale and secondary petroleum products near St. Petersburg, Vedomosti reported Monday. (Bloomberg)

Kazakhstan's oil fund reserves rose 2.4 percent in January as high fuel prices boost revenue, the Kazakh central bank said Monday. (Bloomberg)

Sibur Holding may sell $500 million of bonds to international investors in 2008, Kommersant said Monday. (Bloomberg)