Business in Brief

Tottenham Takeover Bid



LONDON -- Tottenham Hotspur is a ?400 million ($825 million) takeover target for two investor groups and a bid may be announced to the London Stock Exchange within two weeks, the Daily Mirror reported Monday.

Vagit Alekperov, the billionaire chief executive officer of LUKoil, is "believed to be keen" on purchasing the English Premier League team, the newspaper said. An East Asian group is also interested, and former vice chairman Paul Kemsley has been linked with a return.

Dmitry Dolgov, a spokesman for LUKoil, denied on Monday that Alekperov planned to buy Tottenham. John Bick, a spokesman for Tottenham, said the club had no comment.

Spurs in October announced record sales of ?103.1 million and net income of ?18.9 million.

Enic International, owned by Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and currency trader Joe Lewis, has increased its stake in the club to 82 percent, the newspaper reported. ( Bloomberg)




Siemens Wins Contract



FRANKFURT -- Siemens said Monday that its Siemens Power Generation unit won a contract from Power Machines to supply power plant components for the Urengoiskaya and Kirishi projects in Russia.

The total value of the orders for Siemens is about $132 million. "In the course of the last 12 months there has been an enormous dynamic upswing in demand in the Russian power plant market," said Michael Suess, a member of the board of Siemens. (AP)




X5 Readies Ramstore Offer



X5 Retail Group, Russia's biggest supermarket company, hired Merrill Lynch & Co. to advise on a possible purchase of Ramstore, a Turkish food retailer, Interfax reported, citing an unidentified person in the financial markets.

Merrill Lynch officials would not comment to the news service. X5 spokeswoman Alexandra Galimova declined to comment on the report, saying that the company is considering all opportunities to acquire Russian food retailers. (Bloomberg)




Talks on OECD Begin



PARIS -- The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development began talks with five prospective new members, including Russia.

The Paris-based organization, which has 30 members, approved negotiating frameworks that will govern how soon Chile, Estonia, Israel, Russia and Slovenia can each join, according to a statement Monday. (Bloomberg)




Golden Telecom Bid



VimpelCom, Russia's second-largest mobile-phone company, said it's in talks to buy Golden Telecom Inc. for about $4.2 billion, part of a plan to expand into broadband Internet.

Golden Telecom and VimpelCom are "in discussions regarding the potential acquisition of all the outstanding common stock of the company by a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of VimpelCom," the two companies said Monday in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. VimpelCom has offered $105 a share for the Russian Internet, voice and data services provider, 3.5 percent higher than the closing price Nov. 30. (Bloomberg)




$120M in Amnesty



More than a million Russians paid about 2.9 billion rubles ($120 million) to the government by the end of October under a tax amnesty, the Federal Tax Service said.

The amnesty allows individuals to legalize undeclared income earned prior to 2006 by declaring it between March 1, 2007, and the end of the year. Individuals must pay 13 percent of the undeclared amount to be pardoned for tax avoidance.

"In one month, individuals will lose the opportunity to declare their earnings in a simplified manner," the Tax Service said in a statement, posted on its web site Monday. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom Put at $521Bln



Gazprom is "seriously undervalued" and investors should buy the world's biggest gas company because it's worth $521 billion, two-thirds more than the current market value and more than ExxonMobil, Alfa Bank said.

Alfa analysts Ron Smith and Konstantin Batunin raised their recommendation on Gazprom on Monday to "buy" from "hold" and more than doubled their price target for the shares to $22, saying rising gas prices will boost their value in the next 12 months. The new target is 48 percent higher than the average estimate of 13 other investment banks, according to Bloomberg data. (Bloomberg)




Ventspils Nafta Posts Record



A/S Ventspils Nafta, a Latvian port and terminal operator, rose the most in Riga trading after reporting a sixfold increase in nine-month profit.

Ventspils Nafta rose 50 santimi, or 25 percent, to 2.54 lati Monday, the most since the stock first started trading in October 1998. The stock has risen 8.1 percent this year, giving the company a market value of $555 million.

Net income climbed to 35.3 million lati in the first nine months of 2007 following the sale of a stake in an oil terminal subsidiary, Ventspils, based in the western Latvian port city of the same name, said in a statement to the Riga Stock Exchange after the market closed on Nov. 30. (Bloomberg)




Abramov Goes to RZD



Former Audit Chamber auditor Sergei Abramov has been appointed a department head at Russian Railways, or RZD, the company said, Interfax reported Monday.

Abramov, who was suspended from the Audit Chamber in October, has been appointed head of RZD directorate for railway stations, the company said. He will succeed Viktor Budovsky, who became the firm's deputy head of inspection.

Abramov's directorate began its work April 1. He will be in charge of 324 railway stations, which deal with 84 percent of long-distance passengers, RZD said, Interfax reported.

Abramov, a former Chechen Prime Minister, was suspended from the Audit Chamber after three of his subordinates were accused of corruption. (MT)




TMK German Joint Venture



TMK, the world's second-largest maker of seamless pipes used by the oil and gas industry, formed a venture with Germany's SMS Demag to help the Russian producer cut plant-maintenance costs.

The Germans will help monitor and service equipment at TMK's Seversky plant, which makes pipes for Russian automakers including GAZ and KamAZ, Moscow-based TMK said in an e-mailed statement Monday. The Seversky plant already operates some SMS Demag equipment. (Bloomberg)




French Luxury Goods Sales



French luxury goods companies including LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA have raised Russian sales by 60 percent this year .

Total revenue from Russia for members of Comite Colbert, which represents 70 French luxury goods producers, has climbed to 600 million euros ($880 million) this year, according to a statement released Monday at a presentation in Moscow. (Bloomberg)