Business in Brief

Inflation to Rise to 8.5%



The Finance Ministry raised its inflation rate forecast for next year to 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said, Interfax reported Tuesday.

The earlier forecast was 6 percent to 7 percent, Kudrin said, the news agency reported.

Inflation may accelerate to between 11 percent and 11.5 percent this year, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry said in a Nov. 27 report, making this the first year since 1998 in which the rate exceeded that of the previous year. (Bloomberg)




Kazakhstan's Rate Increase



Kazakhstan may increase natural gas transit tariffs for shipping supplies from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to Russia, Dow Jones Newswires reported Tuesday.

Kazakh state-owned oil and gas company KazMunaiGaz is negotiating with Gazprom to raise transportation fees because of higher natural gas prices, Daniyar Berlibayev, deputy chief executive of KazMunaiGaz, told the news service. (Bloomberg)




Imperial Energy's Big Drop



Imperial Energy, a British oil explorer accused by Russia of inflating reserves, had its biggest fall in seven months in London trading after revealing plans to sell bonds that can be converted to stock, the company said Tuesday.

Imperial Energy said it planned to sell $200 million of bonds due in 2014 that can be exchanged for as many as 5.1 million shares, or 10 percent of the company. Proceeds from the sale will be used to pay down debt and acquire three Chinese drilling rigs, Imperial said. (Bloomberg)




Ericsson, Sitronics Win Bid



STOCKHOLM -- Ericsson, the world's largest maker of wireless networks, and Sitronics won an order to provide equipment and services to Mobile TeleSystems, Sitronics said Tuesday in a statement.

Stockholm-based Ericsson will act as a prime contractor to MTS, and Sitronics will serve as Ericsson's subcontractor, the statement said. The order is for equipment for so-called third-generation networks. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom's Good, Enel Says



MILAN, Italy -- Enel welcomes the entrance of Gazprom into the consumer distribution market in Italy, chairman Piero Gnudi told Il Messaggero in an interview Tuesday.

"I don't consider it worrying," Gnudi said, Messaggero reported. "If there is an exchange of investments by producers in our markets, we can create a situation of reciprocity of interests," Gnudi told the newspaper.(Bloomberg)

TGK-4 Suspends CEZ Plan

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia -- Power producer TGK-4, a unit of Unified Energy System, has put off a plan for a venture with CEZ, the Czech Republic's biggest power producer, Mlada Fronta Dnes reported Tuesday.

CEZ this year agreed with TGK-4 on upgrading existing power stations and building new gas- and coal-fired plants, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)




Magnitogorsk Up 9.6%



Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel said third-quarter profit rose 9.6 percent after a foreign-exchange gain offset higher production costs, the company said in a statement on its web site Tuesday.

Net income climbed to $527 million, from $481 million a year earlier, said the company, based in the Chelyabinsk region. Sales grew 15 percent to $2.15 billion. (Bloomberg)




U.S., Russia Uranium Deal



The United States reached an agreement with Russia that will ensure uranium supplies beyond 2013, Federal Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Sergei Novikov said on Monday.

Russia's state-owned uranium industry under the plan will ship supplies directly to utilities, who now receive material that has been recovered from dismantled Soviet warheads. (Bloomberg)




Exxon Is Kashagan Holdout



ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- ExxonMobil is opposed to Kazakhstan's state-run oil company taking a bigger stake in the Kashagan field, Kazakh Energy Minister Sauat Mynbayev said, Interfax reported.

KazMunaiGaz said Sunday that a proposal to raise its stake in the Kashagan venture, in an effort to resolve a dispute over cost overruns and delays, was accepted by all its foreign partners bar one. (Bloomberg)




CPI Up 1.5% in December



Consumer prices may rise as much as 1.5 percent in December from the previous month, Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Andrei Belousov said, Interfax reported Tuesday.

Consumer prices will probably increase from 1 percent to 1.5 percent in December, the news services cited Belousov as saying. (Bloomberg)