Business in Brief

AvtoVAZ to Boost Net 20%



AvtoVAZ may increase profit by 20 percent this year as it seeks a final agreement on a foreign partner, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported Monday, citing the head of Rosoboronexport, which controls the company.

Net income may rise to 3 billion rubles ($123 million) from 2.5 billion rubles in 2006, Sergei Chemezov said. A memorandum of understanding has been signed with Fiat. AvtoVAZ is also in talks with Renault, Magna International and General Motors, he said, the newspaper reported. (Bloomberg)




Oil to Go Via Kazakhstan



Russia will start crude oil deliveries to China through Kazakhstan next year, RIA-Novosti reported Monday, citing Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko.

Russia will ship 5 million tons of oil through the Central Asian country's pipelines next year, the state-run news service said, citing Khristenko after a meeting of Russian and Kazakh officials in Astana Monday. (Bloomberg)




Azeris Visit Energy Rival



ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan -- Azerbaijan sent its first delegation of oil officials to Turkmenistan, opening the possibility the two Caspian Sea countries will agree to participate in a U.S.-backed natural-gas pipeline bypassing Russia.

State Oil of the Azerbaijan Republic vice president Elshad Nassirov and Mukhtar Babaev, the company's head of marketing and sales, attended an energy conference in the Turkmen capital this week. (Bloomberg)




Sakhalin-2 Halts Production



Gazprom's Sakhalin-2 offshore project will not resume production this year after it was damaged by weather, project operator Sakhalin Energy said Monday.

It is not possible to estimate how much production will be lost as output at this time of year is "highly dependent" on ice conditions, Sakhalin Energy spokesman Ivan Chernyakhovsky said. Sakhalin Energy earlier Monday had said it had a "small release" of oil into the Pacific Ocean as the recent severe weather damaged equipment. (Bloomberg)




Mechel Seeks Coal Field



Mechel, a metals and coal producer owned by billionaire Igor Zyuzin, offered $147 million to buy the shares it does not own in Elgaugol, which has rights to the world's largest untapped coking coalfield, Mechel said Monday.

Mechel offered 14,700 rubles ($604) per share to buy the remaining 28.8 percent stake in Elga from minority shareholders, Mechel said. Shareholders have 70 days to accept the offer, Mechel said. (Bloomberg)




$25Bln Sought in Orders



AtomStroiExport, the country's state-run nuclear reactor builder, is seeking to boost orders to more than $25 billion with projects in China, India, and central and eastern Europe, deputy CEO Alexander Glukhov said Monday, according to a company statement.

Building nuclear power plants overseas forms one of the core elements of the country's high-technology export plans, Glukhov said. (Bloomberg)




$1.6Bln for Siberia Sawmills



Khenda Sibir, a Chinese-owned logging company, plans to spend $1.6 billion on building sawmills and buying logging rights in the Siberian region of Tomsk, Vedomosti reported Monday, citing the company's deputy director Yevgeny Dunaev.

Khenda plans to raise annual output 26-fold to 4.5 million cubic meters of lumber, Vedomosti reported. Khenda will export about one-third of its output to China. (Bloomberg)




Teorema to Raise $500M



Teorema Holding, a St. Petersburg property developer, plans to raise $400 million to $500 million in an initial public offering to expand in Russia, the Cyprus-based company said Monday.

Teorema will sell Global Depositary Receipts for $10 to $14 each on the London Stock Exchange, the company said. Moscow-based property consultant Cushman & Wakefield Stiles & Riabokobylko valued Teorema's property holdings at $1.41 billion in September, Teorema said in the statement Nov. 14. (Bloomberg)




Nestle to Buy Ruzskaya



GENEVA -- Nestle, the world's largest food company, agreed to buy Ruzskaya Confectionery Factory, a chocolate maker, to gain the Comilfo and Ruzanna premium brands, Nestle said in a statement Monday.

The Russian company had sales of $51 million in 2006 and its revenue excluding acquisitions is growing 40 percent this year, Nestle said without disclosing the purchase price. (Bloomberg)




Gallery Plans Share Sale



Gallery Group, the country's second-largest outdoor advertising company, plans to sell shares in London to finance acquisitions in Russia and other former Soviet countries, chief executive Salim Tharani said Monday.

The IPO could take place as early as the third quarter, Tharani said, declining to say how much Gallery is worth or expects to raise in the sale. (Bloomberg)




Siemens Manager Charged



Siemens manager Lev Dubnov was charged Thursday with embezzlement and limiting competition by investigators looking into the purchase of medical equipment by local authorities, Svetlana Novik, a spokeswoman for the chief directorate of the Interior Ministry in the Urals Federal District, said Monday from Yekaterinburg.

Dubnov, a Siemens representative in the Sverdlovsk region, was detained Nov. 20 and remains in custody, Novik said. (Bloomberg)




Veropharm Net Rises 33%



Veropharm, the drug-making unit of pharmacy chain 36.6, said nine-month profit rose 33 percent as higher incomes enabled people to buy more pharmaceutical products, the company said Monday.

Net income climbed to $16 million from $12 million a year earlier, the company said. Sales rose 30 percent to $92.1 million, led by prescription medicines and adhesive bandages. (Bloomberg)




Citigroup Sells 4.2% of Dixy



Citigroup is selling its 4.2 percent stake in Dixy Group after the expiry of a lock-up agreement that has been in place since the Russian supermarket chain's May initial public offering, Interfax reported Friday.

Citigroup funds Venture Capital International and Cube Capital cut their 41 percent stake in Dixy to 4.2 percent in the IPO, the company had said in the prospectus for the sale. (Bloomberg)




X5 Profit Up 22%



X5 Retail Group, the country's largest supermarket chain, said third-quarter profit climbed 22 percent after the company added new stores and shoppers spent more, the company said Monday.

Net income rose to $13.2 million from $10.8 million a year earlier, the company said. Sales advanced 53 percent to $1.27 billion. (Bloomberg)