Business in Brief

Regions Fund Needs Cash



The Regional Development Fund, created in 2006 for investments in the country's aging infrastructure, needs fresh injections of $4 billion per year from 2011 for new projects, the Regional Development Ministry said Friday.

"We hope that starting from 2011 the fund will grow by 100 billion rubles per year," the ministry said. The fund has earmarked 342.6 billion rubles ($13.91 billion) for investment in 20 projects and now has only about 175 billion rubles remaining for new ones.

"We have money only for a couple of mega-projects or for a handful of smaller projects," said Maxim Bystrov, deputy regional development minister. (Reuters)




Wealth Fund Stakes Capped



The Foreign Ministry is seeking to alleviate concern about Russia's influence by capping the stakes the country holds in key foreign companies at 5 percent, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Kudrin said fear arises when sovereign wealth funds take controlling stakes, the newspaper reported. The National Welfare Fund will keep at least 60 percent of its money in foreign government bonds, leaving 20 to 40 percent for corporate stocks and bonds, Kudrin said, adding that fund managers would be nongovernmental. (Bloomberg)




Kazakh Transit Fees to Rise



Kazakhstan will raise transit fees by 27 percent for Central Asian natural gas traveling across its territory to Russia, Vedomosti reported Friday.

The price increase will take effect April 1, the newspaper reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation. Kazakhstan will charge $1.40, up from $1.10, per 1,000 cubic meters of gas transported 100 kilometers, Vedomosti said. (Bloomberg)




Renova Bond Sale Delay?



Renova Holding, the investment vehicle of billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, may delay its planned $500 million bond sale because of turmoil in credit markets, Vedomosti reported Friday.

Renova "hasn't decided yet" on the issue of five-year notes and is "testing the market for now," Vekselberg told Vedomosti. Bond yields could reach 10 percent because of the credit slump, the newspaper said, citing a source close to the company. (Bloomberg)




Imperial's Reserves Boom



Imperial Energy, a London-based oil explorer working in Siberia, said its Russian registered reserves more than tripled in 2007.

Reserves of oil, natural gas and condensate based on Russian standards increased 229 percent to 372 million barrels, the company said in a statement Friday. (Bloomberg)




UES May Offer Discounts



DAVOS, Switzerland --Unified Energy System may offer discounted supplies such as those negotiated with United Company RusAl to other industrial users, chief executive Anatoly Chubais said Friday.

RusAl, controlled by billionaire Oleg Deripaska, earlier this month negotiated supply contracts with UES hydropower unit Hydro-OGK through 2020. (Bloomberg)




E.On to Set Up Russian Unit



E.On will set up a Russian unit to run its electricity and gas assets, including generator OGK-4, and may add power retailers to the holding company, a company official said.

The unit is provisionally called E.On Russia, Reiner Hartmann, head of E.On Ruhrgas' office in the country, said Thursday.

E.On may seek to buy retailers through a 50-50 joint venture, formed in May with closely held Russian power company STS to bid for Siberian generator TGK-10, E.On vice president Ralf Held said. (Bloomberg)




Tvel's Non-Nuclear Growth



Tvel, the state nuclear-fuel monopoly, plans to expand processing and sales of metals such as lithium and titanium that are more profitable than uranium, vice president Alexei Klimov said Friday.

Tvel, which turns uranium ore into atomic fuel, seeks to quadruple revenue from its non-nuclear products division to 15.8 billion rubles ($645 million) by 2015, Klimov said. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



Russia is scheduled to ship about 9 percent less crude from its main terminals in February, according to preliminary loading schedules. (Bloomberg)

Yuzhuralzoloto, a closely held Russian gold miner considering an initial public offering, raised output by 24 percent in 2007, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Banks for X5 Retail Group, the country's largest retailer by sales, began seeking buyers for parts of a $1.1 billion three-year loan, the company said Friday. (Bloomberg)

Polymetal, the precious-metals producer owned by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, completed the purchase of a 98.1 percent stake in the Kubaka gold mine from Kinross Gold, the company said Friday. (Bloomberg)

Evraz Group, a steelmaker part-owned by billionaire Roman Abramovich, completed the acquisition of U.S. plate and pipe maker Claymont Steel Holdings, the company said Friday. (Bloomberg)

Siberian Coal Energy Company, or SUEK, plans to borrow $500 million over five years to fund expansion, Interfax reported, citing an unidentified banker. (Bloomberg)

Fazer Group will build a $100 million bread factory in northwestern Russia, Vedomosti reported Friday, citing the Finnish company. (Bloomberg)