Business in Brief

Kovytka Deal Delayed



Gazprom delayed its acquisition of the Kovykta gas field because it needs more information from TNK-BP, Gazprom deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev said Friday in New York.

"To close the Kovykta deal, we need serious analysis to value the asset we are buying," Medvedev said. "Our partners have not supplied us yet with all necessary documents." (Bloomberg)




Gazprom Mulls Ruble Sales



Gazprom may start selling its crude and gas production in rubles rather than dollars and euros, deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev said Friday.

"We are seriously thinking about selling our resources in rubles," Medvedev said. He did not give a specific timeline for the decision.

Medvedev also said Gazprom was interested in selling shares on the New York Stock Exchange to boost the stock's liquidity. (Bloomberg)




Prokhorov Sells Media Stake



Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov agreed to sell his half of Prof-Media to Vladimir Potanin as the two partners split their holdings, including Norilsk Nickel.

Potanin and managers of Prof-Media, which owns radio stations, magazines, a movie studio and television stations TV3 and MTV Russia, will buy out Prokhorov before the end of the year, KM-Invest said in a statement late Thursday. KM-Invest, jointly held by Potanin and Prokhorov, said Prof-Media was valued at $1.8 billion. (Bloomberg)




RZD Bank to Borrow $2Bln



TransCreditBank, the lending arm of Russian Railways, plans to borrow as much as 50 billion rubles ($2 billion) by the end of 2008, the bank said Friday.

The lender plans to sell $1 billion of bonds to international investors and $300 million to $400 million in subordinated securities, said Marina Alekseyeva, a spokeswoman for TransCreditBank. (Bloomberg)




Polyus Wins Gold License



The country's top gold miner, Polyus Gold, said Friday that it had won an auction for a license to develop a field in the Irkutsk region, with resources of 80 tons.

Polyus said in a statement that its winning bid for the license to develop the Medvezhy deposit amounted to $1.3 million. (Reuters)




GAZ Eyes Michigan Parts



GAZ, the country's second-biggest automaker, may order $1.5 billion in parts from Michigan-based suppliers during the next five years, a law firm for the company said Friday.

The purchases were discussed in a meeting Thursday between GAZ president Leonid Dolgov and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, said Rosemary Gilchrist, business-development manager for Giarmarco, Mullins & Horton. The Michigan-based firm represents the automaker. (Bloomberg)




Novolipetsk Net Falls 20%



Novolipetsk Steel, the steelmaker controlled by billionaire Vladimir Lisin, said third-quarter profit fell 20 percent because asset-disposal gains from a year earlier were not repeated.

Net income declined to $592.5 million, from $740.9 million a year earlier. The earnings were calculated by subtracting first-half profit from nine-month figures reported Friday by the company in a statement. Sales increased 10 percent to $1.94 billion in the quarter. (Bloomberg)




UES Plans China Venture



National utility Unified Energy System agreed to start work on a venture with China State Energy Corp. that will mine coal and build power plants.

UES's board on Friday proposed to spend initially 2.1 billion rubles ($88 million) on the East Energy Co. venture, it said in a statement. The funds will come from the initial public offering of the OGK-5 generator, now part-owned by Italian utility Enel. (Bloomberg)




Mechel Mulls Coal Spinoff



Mechel, the steelmaker controlled by billionaire Igor Zyuzin, plans to decide by mid-2008 whether to spin off its coal business and sell shares in the unit.

Mechel may sell a minority stake in the unit in an initial public offering if it opts to pursue a spinoff, company spokesman Ilya Zhitomirsky said Friday. The coal assets are valued at $6 billion to $10 billion, he said. (Bloomberg)




TGK-7 Manager Killed



A criminal investigation has been opened into the killing in Samara of the deputy financial director of TGK-7, Interfax reported Friday.

Yury Chibikov, 45, was killed Thursday evening in front of his home when an unidentified assailant struck him on the head four times with a metal rod, investigators said, Kommersant reported.

Chibikov, who was found dead several minutes later by his wife and her driver, had been preparing the company for an IPO, which was supposed to take place at the start of next year, the newspaper said. (MT)




Eni to Buy Burren Energy



Italy's Eni agreed to buy Burren Energy for ?1.74 billion ($3.6 billion) in cash to add production in Congo and Turkmenistan.

Eni offered 1,230 pence for each Burren share, after a previous bid was turned down, Eni said Friday in a statement distributed by the Regulatory News Service.

Burren surged 9.4 percent to 1,249 pence in London, suggesting investors expect a higher bid may emerge. (Bloomberg)