Business in Brief

Gazprom Sales to Rise 27%



Gazprom expects revenue to rise 27 percent next year to $117 billion under a "conservative" draft budget, Kommersant reported Tuesday, citing an unidentified person familiar with the matter.

That forecast applies if natural gas prices average $281 per 1,000 cubic meters and crude oil averages $61 a barrel, the newspaper said. Troika Dialog expects Gazprom to earn $348 per 1,000 cubic meters of exported gas and as much as $75 per barrel for oil next year, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom to Revise Budget



Gazprom failed to get its 2008 budget approved, as the board called for the plan to be revised by the end of the year, the company said in a statement Tuesday. (Bloomberg)




RTS Seen at 3,000 Next Year



The RTS index will climb 32 percent to 3,000 by the end of next year as government spending shields the economy from a global slowdown, UralSib and Renaissance Capital said Tuesday.

UralSib's Chris Weafer, the top-ranked Russian equity strategist in Thomson Extel's 2007 survey, and Renaissance's chief strategist Roland Nash recommended buying shares of Gazprom and companies that will benefit from government investment in refining, smelting, railroads and electricity. (Bloomberg)




Industrial Growth Slows



Industrial production unexpectedly slowed in November as output of steam turbines and other manufactured goods declined.

Production grew an annual 4.7 percent from 6.1 percent in October, the Federal Statistics Service said Tuesday. The median forecast of 18 economists in a Bloomberg survey was for acceleration to 6.5 percent. On a monthly basis, output contracted 0.8 percent after growing 7.4 percent in October. Economists had forecast a 6.2 percent monthly expansion. (Bloomberg)




Transneft to Swap Shares



Transneft will use 52.6 billion rubles ($2.1 billon) of new shares in a swap to take control of the state-owned oil-product pipeline operator, Transnefteprodukt, Transneft said Tuesday.

The shares are equivalent to 19 percent of voting stock and valued at 59,570.17 rubles each, Transneft said. The state owns all of Transneft's voting shares and 100 percent of Transnefteprodukt. (Bloomberg)




Kazakhs Seen Getting Stake



ROME -- Eni and partners developing the Kashagan oil field may transfer a larger stake in the deposit to Kazakhstan's national oil company in return for an extension of their contract to run the project, ING Group analysts said Tuesday.

"ING see the most likely outcome being an increased stake for state player KazMunaiGaz and modestly diluted stakes for the partners," ING analyst Jason Kenney wrote in a note to traders. (Bloomberg)




AvtoVAZ Refuseniks Offer



AvtoVAZ shareholders who vote against a plan to reorganize the carmaker will receive an offer for their stock, Vedomosti reported Tuesday, citing two unidentified people close to the company.

Investors who reject a plan to eliminate the current ownership structure of the company and its units, AVVA, TsO AFK and IFK, can sell their shares for 40.50 rubles ($1.65) per common share or 14 rubles per preferred share, the newspaper said, without specifying who would buy the shares. (Bloomberg)




Belarus Eyes Banking Sales



KIEV-- Belarus may sell minority stakes in state-controlled banks to raise as much as $1.5 billion next year, said Belarussian central bank head Pyotr Prokopovich, Ukraine's Ekonomicheskiye Izvestiya reported Tuesday.

The country wants to sell as much as 20 percent in each of the state banks, including Belarusbank, Prokopovich said, the paper said. (Bloomberg)




Evraz to Buy Steel Shares



Evraz Group, part-owned by Roman Abramovich, began an offer Tuesday to buy all outstanding Claymont Steel Holdings shares for $23.50 each.

"Following the purchase of shares in the tender offer, Claymont Steel will become a subsidiary of Evraz," Evraz said in a statement. (Bloomberg)




Sistema to Start Indian Firm



Sistema plans to create a pan-Indian telecoms operator as it targets the world's fastest-growing mobile market, and may expand into Africa, Sistema president Alexander Goncharuk said.

In September, Sistema bought 10 percent in Indian telecoms operator Shyam Telelink and signed an agreement in October to buy a further 41 percent. (Reuters)




RZD Into North Korea



Russian Railways, or RZD, plans to build a $100 million container terminal in North Korea as the world's largest rail company tries to create a land transport corridor linking Asia to Europe, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

State-run RZD wants to turn the North Korean port of Rajin into a hub capable of handling 320,000 containers a year for shipment across Russia to Europe, the company said. (Bloomberg)




14 New Auchan Stores



PARIS -- Groupe Auchan, a French supermarket company, plans to operate 14 superstores in Russia for Turkey's Enka Insaat ve Sanayi, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

Auchan will buy one Ramstore outlet and lease the other 13, the Croix, France-based retailer said on its web site. (Bloomberg)




Chemezov Taps VTB Exec



Russian Technologies, a $25 billion state industrial holding company, may hire a former VTB Group executive to help sell shares in its units, Kommersant reported Tuesday, citing an unidentified supervisory board member.

Chief executive Sergei Chemezov has proposed that former VTB deputy chief executive Igor Zavyalov become his deputy, the newspaper said. Russian Technologies' supervisory board will vote on his candidacy Wednesday, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)




X5 Retail to Borrow $1.1Bln



X5 Retail Group, the country's largest supermarket chain, will borrow $1.1 billion from a group of international banks to refinance existing loans, the company said Tuesday.

The three-year loan will carry an interest rate of 2.25 percentage points above the London interbank offered rate for the first year, X5 said. (Bloomberg)




VTB North-West Stake Up



VTB Group increased its stake in VTB North-West by more than 10 percent after 10,000 shareholders sold or swapped their stock, state-run VTB Group said Tuesday.

More than half of the acquired shares in St. Petersburg-based VTB North-West were exchanged for stock in VTB Bank, VTB Group said. (Bloomberg)