Business in Brief

Lift All Bans, Tusk Says



BRUSSELS -- Poland is prepared to lift its veto on strategic partnership negotiations between the European Union and Russia once Moscow lifts all remaining restrictions on food imports from Warsaw, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Friday.

"When this process is finished, we will unblock it with great pleasure," he told a news conference, referring to the launch of talks blocked since October 2006 over a Russian ban on meat and fresh food imports from Poland.

"If there are further steps, if this process is not derailed, then the reasons for our veto will disappear," Tusk said. Asked when that might happen, he said: "We are talking about what should happen, not when." (Reuters)




Invest Into Ukraine Pipeline



Ukraine needs to invest 2.5 billion euros into its gas pipeline over the next five years in order to maintain current transit from Russia to Europe, a European Union official said Friday.

Faouzi Bensarsa, an energy adviser at the European Commission's external relations directorate, made the assessment public in Kiev, saying it had come from a joint working group with Ukraine's national oil and gas company, Naftogaz, Interfax reported.

Gazprom has been pushing for joint ownership of Ukraine's gas pipeline, saying Ukraine cannot afford proper investment into the asset. (MT)




Hambro's 2 Sets of Reserves



Peter Hambro Mining, the second-biggest miner of gold in Russia, on Friday estimated that its total resources were 15 percent higher under international standards. Reserves that can be economically extracted are 6.8 percent lower.

The estimate for total resources based on Australia's JORC classification system is 19.3 million ounces, compared with 16.8 million ounces under the Russian classification system, the company said in a statement. Reserves are 7.9 million under JORC, compared with 8.48 million under Russian standards, spokeswoman Alya Samokhvalova said.

Peter Hambro will use both Russian and international standards for its estimates, he said. The company had delayed the estimate since May when the Natural Resources Ministry questioned non-Russian classifications. (Bloomberg)




Transneft Average Up 19%



Pipeline monopoly Transneft said Friday that the Federal Tariffs Service had approved raising the average oil shipping fee by 19.4 percent in 2008.

The rise is only slightly lower than the 20.1 percent that Transneft had requested and which was the highest rise it had ever asked for, applying to domestic shipments and exports.

The service said Thursday that it would raise the main tariff for oil pipeline transport by 6 percent for 2008, while a second fee for dispatching would rise by 33 percent. (Reuters)




Nord Stream Steel Deal



VIENNA -- Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine will supply up to 200,000 tons of heavy steel plate to OMK for the planned North Stream gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, Voestalpine said Friday.

Half of the order will be delivered to OMK in 2008 in a first tranche worth 100 million euros ($147 million), Voestalpine said. OMK can exercise options for the remainder in the subsequent years, it said. (Reuters)




Korean Uranium Venture



Russia and South Korea are considering setting up a joint venture to ensure stable supplies of Russian uranium products and nuclear fuel services, RIA-Novosti reported Friday.

A commission of government officials from the two countries supported joint projects to develop uranium deposits in Russia and abroad, the state-run news service said, citing an accord from the commission. (Bloomberg)




Rosneft Ruble Bonds



Rosneft may sell bonds denominated in rubles at the beginning of 2008, Interfax reported Friday.

The company has not made a decision yet and may sell the bonds in January or February, Rosneft vice president Sergei Makarov said, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)




Alstom Train Ventures



PARIS -- Alstom, the world's largest train maker, said it agreed to form joint ventures with Russian train-gear maker Transmashholding to supply Russian Railways.

The two companies will jointly produce train gear, France's Alstom said in a statement Friday. (Bloomberg)




Novorossiysk Port Up 91%



Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port said Friday that earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization rose 90.8 percent to $167 million in the first nine months of 2007.

The company, which raised about $1 billion in a London share float last month, said in a statement that nine-month revenue rose 76.5 percent year on year to $332 million. (Reuters)




Alliance Oil Mulls IPO



Midsized oil firm Alliance Oil said Friday that it would consider an initial public offering of its shares in the first quarter of next year after failing to fulfill the plan in 2007.

"We decided to put off the IPO due to market volatility. I think we will make the decision in the first quarter, most likely in February," the company's president, Musa Bazhayev, told reporters. He did not give any details of the offering. (Reuters)




Vietnam Backs Oil Venture



Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a plan to extend a Vietnamese-Russian joint venture that produces the bulk of the country's crude oil, after the venture's agreement expires in 2010, state-run Lao Dong newspaper reported Friday, citing a government decision.

Vietsovpetro, the collaboration between Vietnam Oil & Gas Group, known as PetroVietnam, and Zarubezhneft, will continue its operations from 2010, the report said, without providing further details. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom Eyes Bolivia



CALGARY, Alberta -- Gazprom may invest $2 billion to develop gas deposits in Bolivia, the Financial Times reported, citing unidentified company and government officials familiar with the situation.

Bolivia, which has the second-largest gas reserves in Latin America, is in the process of completing a deal with Gazprom to explore at two sites, the newspaper cited Hydrocarbon Minister Carlos Villegas as saying in an article on its web site Thursday. (Bloomberg)




Potanin Gets All Prof-Media



Billionaire Vladimir Potanin will pay $1.8 billion for 100 percent of Prof-Media, the media holding he co-owns with Mikhail Prokhorov.

Potanin will buy Prof-Media from KM-Invest, another holding jointly owned by the two billionaires. He will later reclaim half of the purchase price, KM-Invest spokesman Konstantin Vorontsov said Thursday.

The KM-Invest board agreed Nov. 29 that Potanin would buy 90 percent of Prof-Media for $1.62 billion, Vorontsov said. Under an earlier deal, the other 10 percent of the firm was to be given to top managers, including former chief executive Rafael Akopov. (Bloomberg)




Renova Media Credit Line



Viktor Vekselberg's Renova Media on Friday received a credit line of 6 billion rubles ($245 million) from Sberbank to finance its investment programs.

The loan will be used to develop the network for Comcor-V, Renova said in an e-mailed statement. (Bloomberg)