Business in Brief

2 Eni Execs to Gazprom Neft



Shareholders in Gazprom Neft, the crude-oil unit of Gazprom, elected a board of directors including two executives of Eni, Gazprom Neft said Monday.

Marco Alvera, Eni's project manager for Russia and senior vice president for portfolio development, and Stefano Cao, Eni's head of oil exploration and production, were elected to the board, the company said. (Bloomberg)




Annual Inflation Hits 9.7%



Inflation has reached 9.7 percent since the beginning of this year, Interfax reported, citing Economic Development and Trade Minister Elvira Nabiullina.

Consumer prices rose 0.9 percent during the first two weeks of November, Nabiullia said during a Cabinet meeting Monday, the news service reported. (Bloomberg)




Possible Wheat Export Ban



The government may ban wheat exports from January to help curb surging food prices, Kommersant reported Monday, citing an unidentified Agriculture Ministry official.

The government will probably quintuple the export duty to at least 105 euros ($154) per ton from the 20 euros now if the ban isn't instituted, Kommersant said. Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev will discuss the measures with Economic Development and Trade Ministry officials Tuesday. (Bloomberg)




Grain Price Curb Opposed



There is no immediate need for new government proposals to curb domestic prices by banning wheat exports or raising tariffs fourfold next year, Alexander Korbut, vice president of the country's grain union, said Monday.

"Russia had a decent harvest this year. … These measures won't even be able to slow inflation considerably," Korbut said. (Bloomberg)




Comstar Purchases DTN



Fixed-line telecoms operator Comstar has completed the acquisition of smaller rival Digital Telephone Networks South for 4.1 billion rubles ($167.3 million), Comstar said Monday.

Comstar, part of services conglomerate Sistema, said DTN was the largest alternative telecommunications operator in the southern part of the country, operating a digital telephone network in Rostov-on-Don and the Rostov region. (Reuters)




Diesel Export Pipe to Baltics



LONDON -- Transnefteprodukt plans to start pumping diesel through a new link to export the fuel from a Baltic Sea port by the end of the year, company spokesman Alexander Drozhzhin said.

The company completed filling the pipeline with diesel and is testing equipment at the port of Primorsk in the Leningrad region. The pipeline has a capacity of 8.4 million tons per year and runs 1,056 kilometers from Kstovo. (Bloomberg)




CEP Seeks Cash for Drilling



CEP International Petroleum, a Canada-based oil explorer working in eastern Russia, aims to raise as much as $100 million selling shares in a private placement to raise funds for drilling, the company's broker Fox-Davies Capital said Monday.

The shares will be sold in Russia, Europe, the United States and Canada, the broker said. The explorer plans to list stock in London and Toronto in the second quarter of 2008. (Bloomberg)




Areva, Russia to Partner



Anne Lauvergeon, CEO of the French nuclear holding Areva, met with Federal Atomic Energy Agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko last week to discuss how Russia and France could develop new ventures in atomic power, the agency said on its web site Monday.

Russia wants cooperation with Areva to expand in three directions: making fuel for U.S.-designed PWR and BWR nuclear reactors; investing in new facilities to re-enrich spent fuel; and using Areva's digital reactor control system in Russian-design power plants. (Bloomberg)




AirUnion May Join Alliance



FRANKFURT -- AirUnion, a group of five Russian carriers, may join the Star Alliance led by Deutsche Lufthansa and UAL Corporation's United Airlines to expand its flight network, Austrian Airlines said Monday.

Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines, another Star Alliance member, will support efforts by AirUnion to join the group under an agreement signed between the three carriers on Friday, Austrian Airlines said. (Bloomberg)




Mordashov Owns TUI Stake



FRANKFURT -- TUI, Europe's largest travel company and the owner of the Hapag-Lloyd shipping line, said Monday that Alexei Mordashov owns a stake of 3 percent in the company.

Mordashov increased his stake to 3.02 percent, through Sungrebe Investments and Artcone, TUI said. (Bloomberg)




Unitel License Under Threat



Uzbek licensing authorities have warned mobile phone operator Unitel, wholly owned by Russia's VimpelCom, that its operating permit could be revoked in the event of further malfunctions on its network, Interfax reported Monday.

The company has registered numerous instances of breakdown of its network, the agency reported, citing the Uzbek state telecommunications and information agency. (MT)




Comstar Forecasts Revenue



Vladimir Yevtushenkov's Comstar forecast revenue from regional operations will grow more than 13 times as it expands in areas outside Moscow and buys assets, the company said Monday.

Comstar will increase regional sales to $550 million in 2011 from $42 million last year, the company said. It paid $167.4 million for Digital Telephone Networks South, an operator in the southern part of the country, Comstar said. (Bloomberg)




Ukraine Investments Up



KIEV -- Foreign direct investment into Ukraine increased by an annual 70.5 percent in the first nine months of the year on the country's bank acquisitions and companies' loans, the state statistics agency reported Monday on its web site.

The country attracted $5.24 billion in investments from January through September, mainly in the financial sector, the agency said.

Ukrainian companies attracted $3.61 billion in foreign direct investments by loans. (Bloomberg)




Cyprus Buys AvtoZAZBank



ATHENS -- Bank of Cyprus agreed to purchase 95 percent of Ukrainian AvtoZAZbank to tap demand for loan growth for about 52 million euros ($76 million), the company said Monday.

The purchase of the Kiev-based bank, which has assets of 15 million euros, loans of 85 million euros and total deposits of 82 million euros, is subject to regulatory approval in Cyprus and Ukraine. (Bloomberg)