Business in Brief

Moldovan Gas Price Raised



Gazprom will raise the price it charges Moldova for the fuel by 12.5 percent in the first quarter and gain some of the country's pipeline assets, Kommersant reported Thursday.

Gazprom will charge $191.25 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas, said Gennady Abashkin, the head of Moldovagaz, the state gas company, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)




36.6 Buys Siberian Chain



Pharmacy chain 36.6, the country's largest drugstore company, acquired a pharmacy chain in western Siberia as part of a plan to continue expanding, the company said Thursday in a statement.

The 27 outlets of the Leo chain are located in five towns and cities in the Kemerovo region, 36.6 said, without disclosing the value of the transaction. (Bloomberg)




9-Month Pipeline Delay



Transneft will delay the launch of its first pipeline to Asia by at least nine months due to slow construction work but will make sure oil producers do not suffer, its head told Reuters.

Under the initial plan, Transneft should have built the 600,000-barrel-per-day link to the border with China by the end of 2008. (Reuters)




Norilsk to Protect Minorities



Norilsk Nickel said it formed a committee to protect the company and minority shareholders as billionaire investor Mikhail Prokhorov plans to sell his stake to United Company RusAl, Norilsk said in a statement Thursday.

Norilsk's board approved a three-member committee of independent directors to review transactions that could influence the company and its minority holders, Norilsk said. (Bloomberg)




VimpelCom CEO Contract



VimpelCom extended the contract of chief executive Alexander Izosimov for two years, the company said in a statement Thursday.

The board voted unanimously to extend Izosimov's contract until Jan. 1, 2010, and he accepted, VimpelCom said. The company's market value has almost tripled this year to $46.1 billion. (Bloomberg)




MegaFon Awards 3G Deal



HELSINKI -- Telecoms network gear makers Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei Technologies have won an order for a nationwide third-generation mobile network from operator MegaFon, the companies said.

MegaFon said it would invest $250 million in the network in 2008, while a Nokia Siemens spokesman said Thursday that they had won a multiyear contract. (Reuters)




Itera, Turkmen Leader Meet



Itera Group, once the country's largest natural gas trader, met with Turkmenistan's president to discuss reviving energy projects with two Russian state companies in the country, Itera said in a statement Thursday.

Chairman Igor Makarov held talks with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov in Ashgabat on Wednesday about exploring fields in the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea and the Central Karakum desert, as well as on building gas pipelines, Itera said. (Bloomberg)




Gazprombank Signs Accord



Gazprombank signed a cooperation accord with state-run China Development Bank, the Moscow-based bank said in a statement Thursday.

The two lenders agreed to coordinate financing for projects of mutual interest, Gazprombank said. No other details were provided. (Bloomberg)




Leviev Moving to London



TEL AVIV -- Billionaire diamond merchant Lev Leviev is moving with his family from Israel to establish a new base in London, Ma'ariv newspaper reported Thursday without citing anyone.

Leviev, chairman of Israel-based Africa Israel Investments, said through a spokesman that he maintained four residences around the world and was not abandoning Israel, the newspaper reported. (Bloomberg)




Reserves Fall to $466.2Bln



The country's foreign currency and gold reserves, the world's third largest, declined last week from a record, the Central Bank said in a statement Thursday.

The value of the reserves declined by $1.2 billion to $466.2 billion in the week ended Dec. 21, the Central Bank said. (Bloomberg)




Mirax to Build Swiss Resort



Mirax Group, the developer building Europe's tallest skyscraper in Moscow, will invest as much as $300 million in a luxury ski resort in the Swiss Alps, Kommersant reported Thursday.

The 9-hectare resort will include a five-star hotel with as many as 500 rooms, villas and apartments, Mirax said, the newspaper reported. Mirax is planning to buy land for the project by late January, Kommersant said. (Bloomberg)




Pulkovo Has Record Traffic



ST. PETERSBURG -- St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport handled a record 6 million passengers this year, 20 percent more than in 2006, Kommersant reported Thursday.

City officials plan to build a new terminal and overhaul the existing one to cope with an anticipated fourfold increase in foreign and domestic travelers by 2025, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)




Airport Consultants Sought



ST. PETERSBURG -- St. Petersburg's government will choose financial and legal consultants next month for the planned 30 billion ruble ($1.2 billion) expansion of Pulkovo Airport as it seeks to quadruple passenger capacity by 2025, a city spokeswoman said Thursday.

The city also has hired NACO, an airport consulting company based in The Hague, to create a plan for a new cargo terminal, the spokeswoman said. (Bloomberg)




Gaidamak Buys Into Pizza



LONDON -- Global Brands, which operates Domino's Pizza outlets in Switzerland, had its biggest one-day gain in London trading after investor Alexander Gaidamak agreed to buy a 52 percent stake for $5.62 million.

Global Brands jumped as much as 42.5 pence (83 cents), or 89 percent, and traded at 80 pence as of 2:00 p.m. That gives the company, which sold shares in London in September 2005, a market value of 3.86 million pounds ($7.7 million). (Bloomberg)




RZD Buys Rail Car Stake



Russian Railways, or RZD, said it bought a 25 percent stake in Transmashholding, the country's largest producer of locomotives and rail cars.

RZD bought the stake from the Netherlands-based Breakers Investments, the rail operator said in a statement on its web site Wednesday.

RZD will appoint a representative to Transmashholding's board. (Bloomberg)