Business in Brief

Storchak Detention Upheld

The Moscow City Court refused to release from custody Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak, who is charged with attempted embezzlement of budgetary funds, Interfax reported Monday.

The defense council challenged an earlier ruling of the Basmanny District Court that extended Storchak's custody pending trial, but the appeal was not upheld. (MT)

Bank of Moscow Profit Rises

Bank of Moscow, controlled by the city government, said Monday that profit rose 60 percent last year on higher lending and new branch openings.

Net income by Russian accounting standards increased to 9.2 billion rubles ($370 million) while assets grew 40 percent to 506.3 billion rubles, chief executive Andrei Borodin said. (Bloomberg)

Group Seeks State TV Stake

ST. PETERSBURG -- The country's newest media group is seeking to acquire stakes in television companies including state-run Channel One, Kommersant said Monday.

The holding, National Media Group, was set up last week by banker Yury Kovalchuk and may also expand with shares in television stations NTV and TNT, owned by Gazprom's media unit, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

$950M Nord Stream Deal

Russian-German pipeline group Nord Stream will award a 650 million euro ($951 million) deal to French firm Eupec to provide pipeline-coating services, the consortium said Monday.

Nord Stream, led by Gazprom and includes Germany's E.On and BASF and Dutch Gasunie, said Eupec would provide concrete weight coating services for the pipeline, running from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

Eupec will build two new plants to fulfill the contract. (Reuters)

VTB Buyback Demanded

Minority shareholders of VTB Group, the country's second-biggest bank, are demanding that the lender buy back shares to raise the stock's price, Kommersant reported Monday.

The bank should buy back "excessive" share capital to increase the price of its tradable stock, the newspaper said, quoting a letter from a group of VTB minority shareholders to Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. (Bloomberg)

Goldman, TPG Eye Lenta

Goldman Sachs and TPG are among the funds seeking to acquire a shareholding in hypermarket chain Lenta, whose owners are battling for control, Kommersant reported Monday.

Goldman's private equity fund, Capital Group Cos.'s Capital International fund and the Russia Partners fund of Siguler Guff & Co. have bid for a stake in Lenta, the newspaper said, citing a person close to the retailer's shareholders. (Bloomberg)

Miller to Seek Kyrgyz Fields

Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller was to visit Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday as Russia seeks to secure gas fields there, Interfax said Monday.

Gazprom subsidiary Zarubezhneftegaz will be awarded the licenses to two fields in Southern Kyrgyzstan on Feb. 20, said Kyrgyz Energy Minister Saparbek Balkibekov, the news service reported. (Bloomberg)

Ford Making New Focus

ST. PETERSBURG -- Ford Motor, the world's third-largest carmaker, began building the latest version of the Focus hatchback at its plant in Vsevolozhsk, in the Leningrad region.

Ford has already received 20,000 orders for the car in Russia, it said Monday. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

Vneshekonombank will finance the construction of an 18 billion ruble ($733 million) St. Petersburg shipbuilding complex, Kommersant said Monday, citing the bank. (Bloomberg)

Meet producer Cherkizovo Group said Monday that poultry sales might almost double this year. (Bloomberg)

National Media Group is seeking to acquire stakes in television companies including Channel One, Kommersant said Monday. (Bloomberg)

Russian Railways said Monday that it planned to borrow 325 billion rubles ($13.2 billion) over the next three years. (Bloomberg)