Business in Brief

Sedmoi Eyes Perm Stores



Supermarket chain Sedmoi Kontinent is considering buying the 20-store Semya chain in Perm and will seek acquisitions and openings in the central Russian city to expand outside of Moscow.

The retailer is looking "at all proposals" to acquire stores in the city, spokeswoman Yekaterina Lesina said Thursday. Sedmoi's first supermarket in Perm opens Friday and the company plans to add a hypermarket there next year, she said. (Bloomberg)




Kerimov's Telecoms Plans



National Telecommunications, controlled by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, plans to double sales this year and next by adding television channels in Moscow to raise tariffs and starting a fast Internet service.

The company will double sales this year to more than $200 million and expects a similar growth next year, chief executive Sergei Kalugin told reporters Thursday. The company expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $100 million this year, he said. (Bloomberg)




St. Pete Substation Opens



ST. PETERSBURG -- City authorities opened the first new 330-kilowatt generator for two decades as St. Petersburg seeks to avoid power cuts in the northeast of the city.

The new substation cost 3.1 billion rubles ($125 million) and will supply electricity to about one-quarter of the city's 5 million residents, Zhanna Nikolayeva, press secretary for the local high-voltage grid operator, said by telephone Thursday.

St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko and Anatoly Chubais, chief executive of Unified Energy System, unveiled the facility, Nikolayeva said. (Bloomberg)




2008 Net Capital Inflow



Net capital inflow is expected to reach the same level next year as in 2007, Economic Development and Trade Minister Elvira Nabiullina told reporters Thursday. Capital inflow is expected to reach about $80 billion this year, she said.

Inflow resumed in October, reaching $11 billion in the month, after the nation registered net capital outflow in August and September, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Dec. 10. (Bloomberg)




Renaissance Hires Manager



Renaissance Group hired Rod Barker from British hedge-fund manager RAB Capital as co-chief executive of its investment management arm.

Andrei Movchan, CEO of Renaissance Investment Management since 2003, will become co-CEO responsible for Russia and the former Soviet Union, the company said in a Business Wire statement Thursday. (Bloomberg)




Tax Laws May Change



The government may consider making changes to tax legislation next year, including the institution of a real estate tax, Economic Development and Trade Minister Elvira Nabiullina said Thursday.

Changes might be made to the single social tax, while ministers should be "cautious" about raising levies on gas extraction, Nabiullina said. (Bloomberg)




Kazakh Oil Transit Seen Up



Kazakhstan is ready to increase exports via Russian pipelines, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Thursday.

The Central Asian country wants to double exports to southern Russia through the Atyrau-Samara pipeline to 20 million tons per year, Nazarbayev said on Russian state television after meeting with President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. (Bloomberg)




Uralkali Potash at $500



Belarussian Potash, a trading company half-owned by Russian potash producer Uralkali, sold the soil nutrient for a record $500 per ton and raised prices in Brazil.

The unit sold more than 100,000 tons on the Southeast Asian spot market, it said in a statement Thursday. The contracts were signed after potash prices were raised to $500 on Dec. 13, from $400 previously, it said. (Bloomberg)




West Siberian's Output Up



West Siberian Resources, a Stockholm-traded Russian oil producer, plans to invest $190 million in projects next year to boost output.

West Siberian will increase production to 15 million barrels of oil next year from 11 million, the company said Thursday in a statement. It will drill 36 new wells. (Bloomberg)




Quicker Land Permits



The government is too slow in granting permits for the purchase and use of land, and economic expansion is suffering as a result, Economic Development and Trade Minister Elvira Nabiullina said Thursday.

"This is a real barrier to economic growth and we must solve it," Nabiullina said. Companies can spend up to two years trying to get permission to set up a business on a plot of land, she said. (Bloomberg)




Bank of Moscow Borrowing



The Bank of Moscow plans to borrow $2 billion next year, most of which will come from selling bonds, Interfax reported Thursday, citing a bank spokeswoman.

The lender is also considering selling shares, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)




Integra Expands Board



Integra Group, a provider of equipment and services to Russian oil and gas producers, has added a second executive director to bring its board membership to seven.

Mark Sadykhov, the head of Integra's oil-field services segment, was elected to the board, the company said Thursday. (Bloomberg)




JPMorgan Hires Lyne



JPMorgan Chase said former British Ambassador Roderic Lyne joined the firm as a senior adviser to help develop client relations in Russia and the former Soviet Union.

Lyne, 59, a member of the board of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce, will also become a member of JPMorgan's European Advisory Council, the bank said Thursday. (Bloomberg)




Chelyabinsk Zinc Profit Fall



Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant, the producer of almost 60 percent of the country's zinc, said nine-month profit declined 13 percent.

Net income fell to $69 million from $79 million in the same period last year, Chelyabinsk said Thursday in a statement distributed by the Regulatory News Service. Sales advanced 18 percent to $450 million. (Bloomberg)




Serbia Cargo Hub Offer



BELGRADE -- Serbia's government has received an offer from Sheremetyevo Airport to develop a cargo hub at Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Airport, Serbian Infrastructure Minister Velimir Ilic said, Politika newspaper reported Thursday.

Ilic said the government was still reviewing the offer. (Bloomberg)