Business in Brief

Dixy Sales Rise 48%



Dixy Group, the country's third-largest listed supermarket chain, said Friday that two-month sales rose 48 percent as it opened more stores and lured more customers.

Revenue climbed to $290 million in January and February from $196 million in the same period last year, Dixy said. Dixy raised its store count to 391 from the previous period, boosting selling space 20 percent. (Bloomberg)




Japan, Rosneft Sign Accord



Japan and Rosneft have signed an initial agreement to cooperate in crude oil exploration and production, as part of Japan's efforts to win better access to overseas reserves.

The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, under Japan's Trade Ministry, on Thursday agreed in Moscow to a non-legally binding, cooperative framework with Rosneft, the agency said Friday in Tokyo. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom Eyes Methane



Gazprom said methane captured from underground coal mines might provide a "serious" addition to resources as producing natural gas fields in Siberia decline.

Gazprom plans to take the first steps toward producing methane from coal seams this year or next, the company said in a statement Friday after deputy chief executive Alexander Ananenkov met with the governor of the coal-rich Kemerovo region. (Bloomberg)




VTB Europe Chief



Deutsche Bank Russia deputy chairman Yury Solovyov was picked to head the investment banking arm of VTB Group, Russia's second-biggest bank, Vedomosti said Friday.

The appointment will be announced in two weeks, the newspaper said Friday, citing three unidentified bankers with knowledge of the matter. Solovyov will head VTB Europe, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)




Gazprombank and Novatek



Gazprombank will help finance a project led by Novatek, the country's second-largest producer of natural gas, to build a power plant in Siberia.

Gazprombank will work with the Development Bank, to arrange investment for the gas-fired power plant, Novatek said Friday in a statement. (Bloomberg)




Titanium Field Clash



VSMPO-Avisma, the world's largest titanium producer, may clash with Norilsk Nickel over control of a huge titanium field in the Tambov region, Kommersant reported Friday.

Kommersant said VSMPO-Avisma, which is controlled by state arms trader Rosoboronexport, had bought a mining firm, Titan, which owns the license to develop 6.5 percent of the Tsentralnoye deposit and mine raw materials for titanium production in an area where Norilsk is also present.

It said VSMPO-Avisma intended to bid at an auction to mine titanium from the whole of the deposit. A spokesman for VSMPO-Avisma declined Friday to confirm the acquisition. (Reuters)




Sugar Duty to Stay



The government will keep the seasonal duty on raw sugar imports at $220 per ton in May, the Sugar Producers' Union said.

The government's Commission for Protective Measures in Foreign Trade agreed to amend the tariff to prevent it from expiring at the end of April after a jump in international prices, the union said in a statement on its web site late Thursday. (Bloomberg)