Business in Brief

Russian Stock Markets Fall



The MICEX Index fell for a fourth day Monday, declining 1 percent to 1,643.31 as all but eight of the index's 30 members retreated. The dollar-denominated RTS Index slipped 1.53 percent to 2,032.29.

AvtoVAZ climbed 2 percent to 44.424 rubles, the day's second-biggest gain on the MICEX.

Norilsk Nickel rose for the first time in seven days, adding 3.2 percent to 7,189.89 rubles. Razgulyai fell 3.4 percent to 211.121 rubles, dropping for the first time in five days.

Rosneft gained 0.8 percent to 197.31 rubles, the only gain among the oil and gas companies that dominate the MICEX. VTB Group fell for a fourth day, sinking 3.5 percent to a record low of 8.78 kopeks. (Bloomberg)




Putin's Refining Incentives



President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered the government to create incentives for oil refining and processing natural resources, Interfax reported.

The government must offer the measures to reduce the economy's dependency on exports of raw materials, starting next year, Interfax reported, saying Putin addressed his remarks to Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev. (Bloomberg)




Troika to Buy Brokerage



Investment bank Troika Dialog agreed to buy Kazakh brokerage Almex Asset Management from President Nursultan Nazarbayev's daughter and son-in-law to expand in Central Asia.

"We plan to become the leading player on the Kazakh market in the near term," Troika chairman Ruben Vardanyan said Monday in Almaty, Kazakhstan's commercial capital.

Troika paid a "fair price," Vardanyan said, declining to elaborate. (Bloomberg)




New Beluga Vodka Markets



Synergy, the country's only publicly traded distiller, will introduce its Beluga vodka in Italy, Switzerland and some duty-free stores to boost the brand's profile outside its domestic market.

Beluga will be sold in Italy through Velier and in Switzerland through Dupasquier, Synergy said Monday in a statement. The vodka also will be sold in some stores run by the Duty Free -- Global Planet System chain. (Bloomberg)




Malaysia Gets 4 Su-30s



Russia delivered four Sukhoi fighter jets to Malaysia, adding to six already sent to the southeast Asian country.

Russia delivered four Su-30MKM aircraft under a 2003 contract for 18 warplanes, Sukhoi Aviation Holding said Monday in an e-mailed statement. (Bloomberg)




Rostiks-KFC to Expand



Yum! Brands' Russian venture, Rostik's-KFC, plans to expand its chain of chicken restaurants by half this year on rising demand for fast-food in the country.

Rostik's-KFC will add 70 outlets to the 136 it had at the end of 2007 in Russia and some former Soviet republics, Rostik Group, which owns half of the unit, said Monday in an e-mailed statement.

The chain's sales reached $164 million last year, Rostik's said, without giving year-earlier figures. (Bloomberg)




UES Sells Carbon Credits



Unified Energy System, Russia's state-controlled national utility, sold credits for 550,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, raising 4.5 million euros ($6.9 million) to help pay for an upgrade of power stations.

Clean Planet Group, based in Britain, won the credits at an auction, UES said Monday in a statement.

The sale, the first of its kind by UES, offered so-called emission reduction units, or ERUs, from the utility's third carbon-credit project. (Bloomberg)




Sunflower Oil Makers Fined



KIEV -- Ukraine's Anti-Monopoly Committee fined the country's two biggest sunflower oil producers for raising prices to a "groundlessly high" level last year.

Kernel Holding and Suntrade will pay $24 million as a fine, the committee said Monday on a statement on its web site. "The companies control together more than 50 percent of the market, which allows them to influence the price," the statement said. "They set up a price that was groundlessly high." (Bloomberg)