Business in Brief

Prokhorov Opposes Spinoff



Norilsk Nickel shareholder Mikhail Prokhorov will vote against the spinoff of its energy assets on Dec. 14, leaving one of two fellow billionaires to decide its fate, Vedomosti reported Tuesday.

Business partner Vladimir Potanin or United Company RusAl's Oleg Deripaska will have to make a decision on creating a separate energy company if either of them buys Prokhorov's 25 percent stake in the country's biggest miner, the newspaper said, citing Prokhorov. (Bloomberg)




Rosneft's Output Up 24.5%



Rosneft will pump 102.5 million tons of oil in 2007, or an average 2.06 million barrels per day, Interfax reported Tuesday, citing Igor Afanasyev, the company's head of field development.

Rosneft may refine 39.9 million tons of oil in 2008, Afanasyev said, Interfax reported. Production had been projected to rise by 24.5 percent to 100.6 million tons of oil this year. Excluding acquisitions, oil output will have risen 12.9 percent, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)




India, Russia Mull Oil Deal



SINGAPORE -- India and Russia may conclude agreements on oil and gas exploration and refining by February, the Press Trust of India reported, citing the country's petroleum minister, Murli Deora.

Indian Oil and Oil & Natural Gas are in talks with Rosneft and Gazprom to forge partnerships in oil and gas, the news agency reported. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom Neft Gets Licenses



Gazprom Neft acquired licenses for two oil fields in western Siberia, the oil producer said in a statement Tuesday.

The company bought permits for the North Romanovsky and Ortyagunsky blocks on Friday, the company said without saying how much it paid. The North Romanovsky block may hold 3.8 million tons of oil and 1 billion cubic meters of gas, while Ortyagunsky's recoverable reserves may be 5.5 million tons, the company said. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom, BASF to Partner



Gazprom formed a company with Germany's BASF to market gas from a joint run field in Siberia, Gazprom said in a statement Tuesday.

The trading company will buy 35 percent of the gas produced at the Yuzhno-Russkoye field, proportional to BASF's financial interest in the development, the company said. The new company is part of an asset swap in which Gazprom will raise its share of joint distribution assets in Germany while BASF gains access to Russian production. (Bloomberg)




VTB Buys Power Stake



VTB Group bought a stake in Nizhnovenergo, a power distributor, Nizhnovenergo said Tuesday in a regulatory filing posted on e-disclosure.ru.

VTB bought 22 percent of the Nizhny Novgorod-based company from billionaire Viktor Vekselberg's I.D.E. Electricity Investments 1 without disclosing the price. The lender, which plans to buy as much as $4 billion in power assets this year, may soon resell the Nizhnovenergo stake, Alfa Bank analyst Alexander Kornilov said. (Bloomberg)




Shell Abandons Regal Deal



Shell announced that it would not proceed with an agreement reached to acquire the Ukraine assets of Regal Petroleum, following Regal's surprise move to appoint a new Chairman and Chief Executive, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The company stated that the management change at Regal was not expected by the company and that it would like to review options. (Reuters)




Volkswagen's $1.1Bln Loan



The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development organized a loan of 26.2 billion rubles ($1.1 billion) for Volkswagen's first plant in Russia, the EBRD said in a statement Tuesday.

The loan is in two parts with nearly 21 billion rubles borrowed from 11 banks for eight years at 55 basis points more than MosPrime, a ruble borrowing benchmark, EBRD said. (Bloomberg)




Novatek Mulls Going East



Novatek is considering entering projects in eastern Siberia as it seeks to diversify away from its core production region of western Siberia, following a deal the company struck with Egypt, its first foray outside West Siberia.

Novatek is also continuing studying joint projects with French oil company Total inside and outside Russia after the two companies signed a cooperation agreement in October 2007. (Reuters)




Microsoft to Build in Siberia



NEW YORK -- Microsoft may locate a data center in Siberia to compete with Google and other rivals in Russia, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The software company reached a memorandum of understanding with the government of Irkutsk region over possible programs, and a data center was part of the discussions, the newspaper said, citing Yevgeny Danilov, a Microsoft Russia spokesman. Microsoft is still far from selecting a site, the paper cited Danilov as saying. (Bloomberg)




RZD Mulls Deutsche Bahn



Russian Railways is interested in acquiring a stake in Germany's state-owned railway, Deutsche Bahn, chief executive Vladimir Yakunin said Tuesday.

This would be a "strategically correct" decision, Yakunin said, adding that no talks were being held now. He did not elaborate on the stake. (Bloomberg)




Surplus Slips to $104.2Bln



The country's trade surplus narrowed to $104.2 billion in the first 10 months of the year as imports grew faster than exports, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry said in a report on its web site Tuesday.

The surplus eased from $120 billion in the previous year as exports increased 11.9 percent to $278.4 billion, while imports grew 35.4 percent to $174.2 billion, the ministry said. (Bloomberg)




$53M of Russian Art Sold



LONDON -- Sotheby's inaugural evening sale of Russian art in London on Monday totaled ?25.7 million ($53.3 million), including commissions, as wealthy collectors fought each other to buy works of their heritage.

The total pre-sale estimate, excluding commission, was ?16 million to ?23.5 million. Nine of the top 10 lots were modern works, led by Natalya Goncharova, Liubov Popova and Nikolai Roerich. Most art came from private U.S. and European collections and 91 percent of buyers were Russians, Sotheby's said. (Bloomberg)




Dixy Net Almost Triples



Dixy Group said profit almost tripled in 2007's first nine months on new stores and lower interest payments, the company said Tuesday in a statement.

Net income increased to 141 million rubles ($5.8 million) from 51.6 million rubles a year earlier, the company said. Revenue advanced 34 percent to 25.6 billion rubles. (Bloomberg)