Business in Brief

Renault Picks for AvtoVAZ



Renault nominees may take senior positions at AvtoVAZ if the French company completes a purchase of 25 percent of Russia's largest carmaker, Vedomosti reported Friday.

Renault, which agreed to buy shares in AvtoVAZ in December, will nominate the company's chief operating officer, financial director, chief engineer and other executives under the preliminary agreement, Renault vice president Patrick Pelata said, Vedomosti reported.

AvtoVAZ will confirm or reject Renault's nominations for those posts, Pelata said. (Bloomberg)




Britain Unsure on Sakhalin



LONDON -- Britain has yet to reach a decision on a $1 billion loan for the Sakhalin-2 oil and natural gas development after four years of deliberating, an official said Friday.

Britain's Export Credit Guarantee Department has not decided whether the project meets its environmental criteria, ECGD communications director Steve Robert-Mee said. Indigenous people, rare salmon and gray whales have suffered from the work on Sakhalin island, Leaton said. (Bloomberg)




Oil Spill in Dagestan



An oil pipeline spilled 100 tons of crude Sunday in Dagestan after a seam burst, an Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman said.

The leak was reported at about 10:30 a.m., and the pipeline was closed down by 12:30 p.m., said Oleg Grekov, a spokesman for the ministry's Southern Federal District branch.

Workers have cleaned up the polluted soil and put up barriers to prevent 5 tons of oil that spilled into a river from reaching the Caspian Sea, about two kilometers away, he said. (Bloomberg)




Ruble Bond Sales May Drop



Sales of ruble-denominated bonds may fall 50 percent this year because of the credit market slump, Alexei Rybnikov, chief executive of the MICEX exchange, said Friday.

Russian companies, banks, and regional and municipal governments raised $18 billion from ruble-denominated debt sales last year and about $20 billion in 2006, Rybnikov said. Both bonds and stocks are listed on the MICEX. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom, Fluxys Scrap Plan



Fluxys, Belgium's natural gas grid operator, has found that a project with Gazprom to build an underground gas-storage site in the Belgian town of Poederlee is not cost-effective, Le Soir newspaper reported Saturday.

All parties met recently and decided not to extend studies conducted on the project, chief executive Sophie Dutordoir said, the newspaper reported. (Bloomberg)




Rosinter Q4 Sales Improve



Rosinter Restaurants Holding said Friday that fourth-quarter sales strengthened after rising incomes enabled more diners to eat out.

Sales climbed 17 percent in dollar terms at outlets open at least two years, the company said in a statement that didn't give the amount of revenue. (Bloomberg)




Gas Firm to Invest $340M



Air Liquide, the world's second-largest industrial-gases maker, forecast that Russian sales would rise to 5 percent of its total, and the company said Friday that it planned to invest about $340 million there over the next five years.

"There have been very few times when we have been able to reach this level so quickly," said Alain Combier, who heads Central and Eastern European operations. (Bloomberg)




Sibur Interest in Tire Maker



Sibur Holding, Gazprom's petrochemical arm, is in talks to acquire a stake in Amtel-Vredestein, the country's third-biggest tire maker, Amtel-Vredestein said Friday.

Sibur may become a principal shareholder in the company through the issue of new equity, Amtel-Vredestein said in a statement. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



LUKoil will continue attempts to acquire European oil refining and retail assets, chief executive Vagit Alekperov said Thursday. (Bloomberg)

TPG, a U.S. buyout firm, is not in talks to buy a stake in Russian supermarket chain Sedmoi Kontinent, Kommersant reported Friday. (Bloomberg)

Baltic Oil Terminal, a London-based company that explores for oil in Russia, said Friday that it found small amounts of hydrocarbons at its Mokrousovsky area in western Siberia. (Bloomberg)

Kazmortransflot, Kazakhstan's state oil-tanker operator, said Friday that it shipped 13 percent less oil in 2007. (Bloomberg)

Abbot Group, a Scottish oil-services drilling company, said Friday that its sale to First Reserve had been approved by the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service. (Bloomberg)

Potash prices will rise above $600 per ton this year as demand for the nutrient outpaces supply, Belarussian Potash said Friday. (Bloomberg)

Kazakhstan's annual inflation rate in January was 18.7 percent, compared with 18.8 percent in December, and remained close to the highest level in more than eight years, the country's statistics agency said Friday. (Bloomberg)

Celesio, Europe's biggest drug wholesaler, is searching for more partners in Russia after a period of exclusive talks with Protek Group expired, allowing it to approach other companies, the company said Friday. (Bloomberg)