Business in Brief

Kovykta Terms Changed

The Federal Subsoil Resource Use Agency changed the license terms for the Kovykta gas field, which TNK-BP agreed to sell to Gazprom last year, Interfax reported Thursday.

The field will no longer be required to produce 9 billion cubic meters of gas per year because of a lack of local demand, Federal Subsoil Resource Use Agency head Anatoly Ledovskikh said, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

ArcelorMittal Buys 3 Mines

ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steelmaker, said Thursday that it agreed to buy three Russian coal mines for $720 million.

The company is buying majority stakes in two mines in Siberia from Severstal, the country's second-largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal said in a statement. It is also buying a third mine from a company based in Cyprus, which it did not identify by name. (Bloomberg)

Severstal Accident Kills One

An accident at Severstal's biggest steel mill killed one worker and injured two more, the Emergency Situations Ministry said Thursday.

Blast furnace No. 5, the world's second-largest, at the Cherepovets plant in the Vologda region threw out hot metal, causing fires, ministry spokeswoman Veronika Smolskaya said. The injured workers were hospitalized, and one died of heart failure. (Bloomberg)

Tariko's Bank to Raise $1Bln

Russky Standart bank, controlled by billionaire Rustam Tariko, plans to raise at least $1.2 billion this year from ruble-denominated bonds and loans, the company's chairman said Thursday.

The bank aims to sell $875 million of ruble notes and borrow $350 million through syndicated loans from other banks, Dmitry Levin said. (Bloomberg)

Aeroflot to Bid for JAT Air

BELGRADE -- Aeroflot will bid in the upcoming sale of Serbia's flag carrier, JAT Airways, Serbian station B92 TV said Thursday.

Aeroflot official Mikhail Poluboyarinov said the airline would prepare a plan for a bid by this spring with a partner from the European Union, B92 TV reported. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil's $12Bln for South

LUKoil will invest more than 300 billion rubles ($12 billion) in southern Russia during the next five years, chief executive Vagit Alekperov said, Interfax reported Thursday.

The company has already spent 70 billion rubles in the region, Alekperov said, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

U.S., Russia to Start Talks

The United States and Russia will start a "formal economic dialogue," reflecting Russia's growing importance in the world economy, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said Thursday.

The first meeting will be held in the spring in Washington, the embassy said in a statement. (Bloomberg)

State Invests in Tidal Power

The government plans to help fund the construction of a 15,000-megawatt power plant to harness the tides of the White Sea, the head of the Federal Energy Agency said Thursday.

"The state is ready to put money in the Mezen tidal power station," Dmitry Akhanov said. (Bloomberg)

Reserves Rise to $479Bln

Foreign currency and gold reserves rose to $479.4 billion, the Central Bank said Thursday.

The value of the reserves increased by $1 billion in the week ended Jan. 25, after gaining $700 million in the previous week, the Central Bank said in a statement. (Bloomberg)

36.6 to Cut Store Openings

Pharmacy chain 36.6, the country's largest drugstore company, will open fewer stores this year as it seeks to halt at least three consecutive quarters of losses, the company's president said Thursday.

36.6 will add fewer than the 350 outlets it opened in 2007, president Jere Calmes said, without specifying a number. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

Alrosa, the world's second-largest diamond producer, may sell shares to the public next year, president Sergei Vybornov said Thursday. (Bloomberg)

Handbag maker Coach said Thursday that it planned to enter the Russian market through an arrangement with domestic distributor Jamilco and expected to open at least 15 locations over a five-year period. (Bloomberg)

Karachaganak Petroleum Operating, BG Group's Kazakh venture, increased oil and gas condensate output 12 percent last year, state-run energy company KazMunaiGaz said Thursday. (Bloomberg)

Uralvagonzavod, a producer of railways cars and battle tanks, is in talks to form a venture in Iran to make railroad cars, Kommersant said Thursday. (Bloomberg)