Business in Brief

Oil Profits Invested in 2007



FRANKFURT -- Russia next month will begin investing 640 billion rubles ($26 billion) reaped from oil exports and the sale of bankrupt Yukos assets, Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Anna Popova said Wednesday.

The government's housing fund will deposit its money in banks and buy corporate bonds, Popova said. Other funds will have a broader choice of investments, including stocks and mortgage bonds. (Bloomberg)




6 Chemical Plants Planned



Russia will build six major chemical plants by 2015 as it seeks to cut imports of value added products, including plastics, for booming industries such as the car sector, Energy and Industry Minister Viktor Khristenko said Wednesday.

The government wanted the share of the chemical industry to rise to 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2015, from 1.7 percent now, under a strategy reviewed at a Cabinet meeting, Khristenko said. (Reuters)




Pipeline Deal Seen in 2007



Russia will sign an agreement to build a new pipeline to import natural gas from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan by the end of the year, Interfax reported Wednesday, citing an unidentified government official.

The pipeline along the coast of the Caspian Sea, first announced in May, will be formalized in an accord signed by the three countries' prime ministers, the news agency said, citing the official. (Bloomberg)




Fastest Petrol Hike in a Year



Pump prices for gasoline rose at the highest weekly rate in more than a year, the State Statistics Service said Tuesday, because of tight supplies.

The cost of 92-octane gasoline rose by 0.6 percent in the week ending Nov. 12, the highest gain since Sept. 17 last year, when prices rose by 1.2 percent. The average price of 92-octane gasoline climbed 2 percent to 19.27 rubles (78.7 cents) per liter in the month to Nov. 6, according to the Service. (Bloomberg)




Coal Mine Auction Date Set



LONDON -- Russia will auction exploration and mining rights to part of the Ushakovskoye coal deposit in Siberia on Feb. 22, Interfax reported Wednesday, citing an unidentified person at the region's natural resources department.

The section holds an estimated 150 million tons of coal and has a starting price of 170 million rubles ($7 million), Interfax said. Bids for the 20-year license, which may be extended, must be made by Dec. 12. (Bloomberg)




TMK Plans Capacity Boost



TMK will increase capacity quicker by building and upgrading plants than through acquisitions, the company's head of strategy Vladimir Shmatovich said Wednesday.

Aside from a current bid for control of Poland's Walcownia Rur Jednosc pipe maker, the company sees few available targets in the United States and Western Europe, Shmatovich said. The company will focus near-term expansion on pipe services and scrap metal. (Bloomberg)




Mordashov to Up TUI Stake



FRANKFURT -- Alexei Mordashov may raise his stake in TUI to 20 percent from 3 percent, a move that would make him largest shareholder of the German travel company, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported Wednesday, without citing a source.

Mordashov would have to pay about 1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) for the stake based on TUI's current market value, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)




LUKoil, Trafigura Place Bids



JOHANNESBURG -- LUKoil and Trafigura are among the bidders to supply 1.4 million tons of crude oil to Zambia, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing the country's energy and water development permanent secretary.

Zambia's sole petroleum refinery was shut down Sunday due to shortages of feedstock. (Bloomberg)




Novatek Profits Rise



Novatek reported on Wednesday forecast-beating results, which prompted a stock rise as the firm showed its ability to generate higher profits despite caps on gas production.

Novatek said its third quarter net profit rose by 25 percent to 5.12 billion rubles ($209 million) from 4.09 billion rubles in the same period of 2006. Total revenues rose by 16 percent to 15.2 billion rubles ($620 million) from 13.1 billion rubles. (Reuters)




Gazprombank Places Bonds



Gazprombank said Wednesday that it would start placing Series 5 bonds worth 20 billion rubles ($822 million) on Nov. 29.

The bank expects that the bonds will have a yield in the range of 7.0 percent to 7.5 percent to a one-year put option. The bank last week announced that it would place Series 4 bonds also worth 20 billion rubles on Wednesday. (Reuters)




Iran to Buy 5 TU-214s



TEHRAN -- Iran's national airliner Iran Air will buy five Tupolev passenger planes from Russia to meet high demand for domestic flights, Iran's state broadcaster said Wednesday.

"Iran Air has various plans to complete its fleet and is to buy five Tupolev 214 passenger planes," managing director Saeed Hessami was quoted as saying on the web site of state broadcaster IRIB, without giving any financial details on the deal. (Reuters)




Bunge to Up Oil Output



Bunge, the world's largest oilseed processor, will seek to boost operations in the country by building plants and elevators, Vedomosti reported Wednesday, citing chief executive Alberto Weisser.

Bunge plans to build vegetable oil plants to increase its 7.6 percent market share and buy warehouses and elevators, Vedomosti said. The company also wants to sell more oilseed meal for feedstock as Russia raises meat production, the newspaper said.

Russia "will feed the world in the future," Vedomosti quoted Weisser as saying. (Bloomberg)




EBRD to Arrange Loan



The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development plans to arrange a syndicated loan of up to 9 billion rubles ($369.9 million) for power producer OGK-5, the company said Wednesday.

OGK-5 said it had signed an agreement of mandate with the EBRD on funding of a 410-megawatt combined-cycle gas turbine construction project at Nevinnomysskaya power station and financing its modernization program. (Reuters)




Poland's Empik to Expand



WARSAW -- Empik Media & Fashion, the Polish retailer of books, music and the Zara clothing brand, plans to create a network of shops in Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, daily newspaper Puls Biznesu said Wednesday.

The company will open "several hundred" stores in the three countries over the next three to five years, the newspaper said, citing CEO Maciej Dyjas. (Bloomberg)