Business in Brief

Severstal's SeverCorr Buyout

CHICAGO -- Severstal, a steelmaker owned by billionaire Alexei Mordashov, said it planned to buy the 20 percent of the U.S. SeverCorr joint venture it does not already own for an undisclosed price and take over management, the company said Jan. 2 in a statement.

Severstal is in talks with SeverCorr founder John Correnti and other investors about buying the stake and appointed James Hrusovksy chief executive and Sergei Kuznetsov as financial director, the company said.(Bloomberg)

Severstal Cuts Plant Output

CHICAGO -- Severstal, a steelmaker owned by billionaire Alexei Mordashov, cut production at a plant in Dearborn, Michigan, after an accident over the weekend, the company said Monday

Severstal closed the B blast furnace, which can produce about 1,800 tons of steel per day, after the explosion Saturday injured an on-site contractor, the Cherepovets-based company said. Severstal said it might shut its C blast furnace temporarily as part of an investigation at the plant, which supplies steel to the U.S. auto industry. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom's Prices Rise

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Gazprom will raise natural gas prices for exports to Lithuania by a monthly 15 percent beginning this month, the Baltic News Service reported last Wednesday, without citing its source.

Gas prices will increase 29 percent beginning in November, the service said. Lietuvos Dujos, a Lithuanian natural gas utility, will pay 833 litai ($353) per 1,000 cubic meters in January, it said. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom, Nigeria to Partner

LONDON -- Gazprom may help develop Nigerian deposits and pipelines as the country builds its gas industry.

Gazprom is interested in securing gas projects in Nigeria, spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov confirmed Monday. The Financial Times reported last week that company executives had visited the capital Abuja in December with proposals to revamp the nation's underperforming gas industry. (Bloomberg)

Urals Energy Sells Shares

LONDON -- Urals Energy, a London-traded oil producer operating in Russia, sold shares to Morgan Stanley after the U.S. securities firm exercised an option.

The company, which raised 65.6 million pounds ($129.5 million) selling shares in a private placement last month, said Morgan Stanley exercised an over-allotment option, according to a statement last Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

UES Starts Generator Again

LONDON -- Unified Energy System started a generator at Europe's largest power plant and plans to resume output from another late Tuesday after repairs following a roof collapse last week, the company said in a statement.

GRES-2, a plant owned by OGK-4, started unit 4 at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday following its shutdown on Jan. 4, UES said. Unit 5 is being prepared to start up overnight, as it had been shut before the accident for maintenance. (Bloomberg)

Andritz's $191M Order

VIENNA -- Andritz, an Austrian machine maker, won orders valued at as much as 130 million euros ($191 million) from Russia's Mondi Syktyvkar Pulp and Paper to supply energy generation equipment to a paper mill.

Andritz will build and install a recovery boiler in the Komi Republic-based plant by 2010, Andritz said Tuesday. The order will probably be valued at 100 million to 130 million euros, the Austria-based company said. (Bloomberg)

Ukraine to Review Naftogaz

LONDON -- Ukraine's government set up a commission to investigate the finances of Naftogaz Ukrayny, a state-owned gas company that may face bankruptcy, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said.

Tymoshenko agreed to provide state guarantees for debt payments to Naftogaz creditors to ensure the smooth running of the nation's gas network, she said in a statement posted Jan 2 on her web site. The company has been stripped of some income after renting out underground gas storages below market rates, she said. (Bloomberg)

Kazakhstan's Economy Up

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan's economy expanded by a preliminary 8.7 percent last year, below its average for the decade, as the liquidity squeeze in international financial markets led banks to cut lending, the government said Tuesday.

The cost of goods leaving Kazakhstan's factories and mines soared in December as gas condensate and crude oil prices surged.Producer prices in the energy exporter rose an annual 31.9 percent, up from 26.8 percent in November, the state statistics agency said Tuesday. In the month, producer prices rose 4.1 percent, down from 8.9 percent in November. (Bloomberg)