Business in Brief

New Berezovsky Case



A new case has been opened against billionaire Boris Berezovsky, the Investigative Committee under the auspices of the Prosecutor General's Office told Interfax on Thursday.

Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the committee, said Berezovsky was granted political asylum in Britain based on his false claims that the Russian special services were planning his murder, the news agency said. The claims, he said, were being investigated as a knowingly false accusation that an individual had committed a serious crime, an offense that carries a possible prison sentence of up to 3 years. (MT)




RusAl Buys Plant in China



United Company RusAl, the world's largest primary aluminum producer, said Thursday that it had bought a plant in China that would allow it to secure as much as 60 percent of the cathodes the company needs for its Siberian smelters.

RusAl bought a cathode plant in Baoguan in China's Shanxi province for an unspecified amount, the company said. (Bloomberg)




Ruukki Mill May Go Ahead



HELSINKI -- Finland's Ruukki Group may be able to construct a pulp mill in Kostroma, two weeks after it said it was canceling the project, Kauppalehti newspaper said Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Naryshkin gave Kostroma regional officials new instructions on Ruukki's plan, said Reino Paasilinna, the deputy head of a European Parliament delegation to Russia, the paper said. (Bloomberg)




Transneft Q3 Profit Down



Transneft, the country's oil pipeline monopoly, said Thursday that profit fell 40 percent in the third quarter because of higher operating expenses and taxes.

Net income fell to 8.79 billion rubles ($370 million) from 14.6 billion rubles in the year-earlier period, Transneft said on its web site. (Bloomberg)




Sibur to Borrow $10Bln



Shareholders of Sibur Holding, Gazprom's petrochemicals unit, have approved a plan to raise 240 billion rubles ($10.1 billion) in bonds and loans.

The company endorsed a decision to sell four seven-year bonds valued at 30 billion rubles each and take a credit line of 120 billion rubles with Gazprombank, Sibur said Wednesday. (Bloomberg)




Reserves Pass $500Bln Mark



The country's foreign currency and gold reserves, the world's third largest, rose to a record $502.1 billion last week, the Central Bank said Thursday.

The value of the reserves increased by $7.6 billion in the week ended March 14, after rising by $3.8 billion in the previous week, the bank said. (Bloomberg)




Aeroflot, S7 Georgia Flights



Aeroflot said Thursday that it would resume services to and from Georgia on March 27 and has begun accepting reservations.

S7 began selling tickets Wednesday for flights to Georgia, which will resume on March 30, the firm said. (Bloomberg)




Uralkali Doubles India Price



Uralkali, the country's second-largest potash producer, said Thursday that it had more than doubled contract prices for India's largest fertilizer importer.

Uralkali trader Belarussian Potash said it reached an accord with India's IPL to sell 750,000 tons of potash at $625 a ton. (Bloomberg)




Grain Exports to Rise 15%



The country may boost grain exports 15 percent in the next marketing year on favorable weather conditions and as it sows more wheat, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said Thursday.

Grain exports may increase to 15 million tons in the next marketing year, Gordeyev said on state television. The country expects to harvest "at least" 85 million tons on increased sowings and mild weather, he said. (Bloomberg)




Mineral Fertilizer Quotas



The government may impose export quotas on mineral fertilizers as it seeks to keep more nutrients inside the country to boost agricultural output, Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said, RIA-Novosti reported.

The country may set quotas if export duty on mineral fertilizers fails to improve the situation in the domestic market, Zubkov said, the news agency reported. (Bloomberg)