Business in Brief

Ivanov Backs 12% VAT

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Tuesday that a reduction of the value-added tax to 12 or 13 percent was possible in the second half of 2008, but only after a careful assessment of its impact, Interfax reported.

Ivanov also said the state had many social policy commitments, which cannot be ignored Interfax reported. (MT)

Funds Frozen in Kazakhstan

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The bank accounts of Karachaganak Petroleum Operating, the Kazakh venture of Britain's BG Group, have been frozen since December, Interfax said Tuesday.

The accounts were frozen as the company did not report on payments for polluting emissions, said Aklima Kaidasheva, a local tax official, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

Sberbank '07 Profit Up 33%

Sberbank said Tuesday that 2007 profit rose 33 percent to 116.7 billion rubles ($4.96 billion) under Russian accounting standards.

Assets at the bank increased 42 percent to 5.06 trillion rubles, the lender said in a statement, citing chief financial officer Anton Karamzin. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom May Have to Share

Gazprom may be asked to share its export revenues with independent gas producers for using their gas for export needs, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

Sources at the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service said the proposals would be made before May, the newspaper reported. (Reuters)

Telecominvest Chief Resigns

Telecominvest chief executive Maxim Gorokhov said Tuesday that he had left the company, whose assets include a 31.3 percent stake in MegaFon.

Billionaire Alisher Usmanov last year bought 15 percent in Telecominvest for $410 million and wants to increase his stake. (Bloomberg)

Leak Kills LUKoil Worker

LUKoil's largest Russian refinery suffered an ammonia leak that killed one worker, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Output at the plant will not be affected and the leak did not pollute the air near the site, spokesman Dmitry Dolgov said. There was no fire or explosion at the Nizhny Novgorod region facility, he said. (Bloomberg)

Housing Fund Deposits

The state-run housing fund will deposit about 240 billion rubles ($10.2 billion) in accounts at the Central Bank for three months, fund chief Konstantin Tsitsin said, Interfax reported Tuesday.

The fund plans to make the deposit this month, Interfax said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

Duties on Mineral Fertilizers

The government approved export duties on mineral fertilizers until April 9, 2009, to reduce the cost of the nutrients for domestic grain producers.

The country will tax potassium fertilizer exports at 5 percent of their customs value, the government said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

Acron's $1.7Bln for Field

Acron, a Russian fertilizer producer planning a share sale in London this year, said Tuesday it planned to spend as much as 40 billion rubles ($1.7 billion) to mine potash at the Verkhnekamsk field after winning an auction last week.

Acron won the Talitsky site for 16.8 billion rubles, 27 times more than the starting price, beating Uralkali in the March 12 auction. (Bloomberg)

Rosneft Tax Proposal

Rosneft proposed that the country lower excise taxes for gasoline, diesel and motor oil to keep domestic prices for the refined products low, Interfax reported Tuesday.

The company is asking for a reduction of excise taxes on all motor fuels by 500 rubles or 1,000 rubles ($43) per ton, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

Sberbank plans to pay 10 percent of its net profit in 2007 dividends, a ratio similar to 2006, a source close to the bank's supervisory board said Tuesday. (Reuters)

Aeroflot said Tuesday that passenger numbers increased 23 percent last month year on year. (Bloomberg)