Business in Brief

MegaFon May Sell Shares



MegaFon, the country's third-largest mobile phone company, may sell shares next year in an initial public offering, after a conflict between its shareholders is resolved, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday. "MegaFon may go public in 2009," company spokeswoman Marina Belasheva said, confirming comments by chief executive Sergei Soldatenkov. "It is for the shareholders to decide. It seems their conflict is dying down," she said. (Bloomberg)




Severstal's Hyundai Talks



Severstal, a steelmaker controlled by billionaire Alexei Mordashov, is in talks to supply steel for Hyundai Motors, which plans to open an automotive plant in Russia by 2010, Severstal said Wednesday.

The companies discussed potential deliveries after a review of Severstal's main Russian mill in Cherepovets by executives from Hyundai and its affiliated Kia, the steelmaker said. Hyundai and Kia will need the steel for stamping car chassis parts, according to the statement. (Bloomberg)




S7 Sales Advance 24%



S7, the country's second-largest airline, said Wednesday that sales advanced 24 percent in 2007 as it carried more passengers on more routes.

Revenue rose to 30 billion rubles ($1.23 billion) last year, the carrier said in statement. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was 2.8 billion rubles, S7 said, without giving comparative or net income figures. S7, which carries more people domestically than bigger rival Aeroflot, said passenger traffic advanced 16 percent last year to 5.7 million. (Bloomberg)




Electricity Prices May Rise



Russian electricity prices may rise by about 40 percent once the government eliminates fixed tariffs and power generation passes fully from the state into private ownership, the head of the Federal Energy Agency said Wednesday.

"Free market prices are about 40 percent above tariffs at present, and that's the kind of indication one should count on," Dmitry Akhanov, the agency's chief, said Wednesday on state-run news channel Vesti-24.

The country's population will remain sheltered from the liberalization process until "at least 2014," Akhanov said. (Bloomberg)




UES's Mosenergosbyt Price



Mosenergosbyt, the country's biggest heat and power retailer, jumped the most in 21 months in Moscow trading Wednesday after a report said the company was valued at $1.3 billion by Unified Energy System.

Mosenergosbyt advanced 22 percent to 61.1 kopeks on the MICEX at 12:58 p.m. State-run UES will auction off its 51 percent stake in Mosenergosbyt next month at a price that will value the retailer at least $1.3 billion, Interfax said Wednesday, citing a source familiar with UES's plans. (Bloomberg)




Coal Sales Won't Fill Gap



Russia, the world's third-biggest coal exporter, probably will not be able to increase sales of the fuel this year to compensate for shortfalls from China, South Africa and Australia, said Siberian Coal Energy Company, or SUEK.

"There is no resource to fill the shortage," said Igor Gribanovsky, SUEK's commercial director. "Russia may only be able to export the same as last year," he said late Tuesday. (Bloomberg)




LUKoil to Buy TGK-8



LUKoil, the country's second-largest oil producer, agreed to buy 80 percent of TGK-8, the power generator for southern Russia, from IFD Kapital Group, the companies said Wednesday.

LUKoil will transfer 23.5 million treasury shares to IFD Kapital, which is owned by LUKoil executives Vagit Alekperov and Leonid Fedun, as part of the transaction, the companies said in a statement. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom to Up Sulfur Prices



Gazprom, which produces 90 percent of the country's sulfur, will increase prices more than sevenfold this year, boosting costs for fertilizer makers, Kommersant reported Wednesday.

Gazprom plans to raise sulfur prices to more than 3,000 rubles ($123) per ton in 2008, from 400 rubles a year earlier, the newspaper said, citing unidentified sulfur buyers. (Bloomberg)




China Wants Gazprom Talks



China wants the chief executives of Gazprom and China's National Petroleum Corp. to meet after talks on natural gas deliveries reached a "dead end," Interfax reported Wednesday, citing an unidentified person with knowledge of the matter.

CNPC is prepared to use European gas prices as a basis for the price it is charged, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)




Raspadskaya Raises Output



Raspadskaya, the country's second-largest producer of coal used in steelmaking, raised output 28 percent in 2007 and said Wednesday that it expected prices to jump during 2008.

It produced 13.6 million tons of coking coal, or 3 million tons more than the previous year, according to Raspadskaya's preliminary figures, released in an e-mailed statement. (Bloomberg)




Noga Problem to Be Settled



Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Wednesday that the government's alleged debt to Swiss company Noga would be settled within the next two to three months, Interfax reported.

Noga has previously sought to seize Russian assets abroad to win back the debts linked to an oil-for-food deal struck in 1991 to 1992. (MT)




Eni Unit May Bid for Field



Eni's Russian unit may bid for an oil and gas field in eastern Siberia as the Italian energy company seeks to expand in the country, Kommersant reported Wednesday.

Eni will decide whether to bid at the Feb. 23 auction after studying data on the Olenchiminsky field, Kommersant said, citing an Eni spokesman. (Bloomberg)




Aeroflot Profit Up 92%



Aeroflot, the country's biggest airline, increased profit 92 percent for the first nine months of last year, Interfax reported Wednesday.

Net income for the period rose to $357.3 million, the news service said. The company's sales advanced 32 percent to $2.8 billion, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



Billionaire Oleg Deripaska decided against bidding for a contract to build a toll road from Moscow to St. Petersburg, Kommersant reported Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

Kazakhmys, Kazakhstan's biggest copper producer, said Wednesday that fourth-quarter production fell 7.8 percent because of a flood in one of its mines and delays in getting mining equipment. (Bloomberg)

Accent Development plans to build 120 convenience stores in Russia over four years to lease, Vedomosti reported Wednesday. (Bloomberg)