Business in Brief

8th Suspect in Kozlov Case



Andrei Kosmynin, an eighth suspect in the murder of Central Bank first deputy chairman Andrei Kozlov, has been placed on the international wanted list, said Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the Investigative Committee, under the auspices of the Prosecutor General's Office, Interfax reported Thursday.

Seven suspects are on trial. Kozlov was shot dead in a contract-style killing in 2006. (MT)




Reiman Unhappy With Bill



IT and Communications Minister Leonid Reiman said Thursday that the ministry would work to amend provisions of a bill on foreigners' access to the strategic sectors, Interfax reported.

Reiman said he was trying to "minimize negative implications for the market," adding that the proposed restrictions were "a bad signal for the communications industry," Interfax said. (MT)




Surgutneftegaz Dividends



Surgutneftegaz, the country's second-biggest nonstate oil producer, may pay a dividend of 2.5 cents on ordinary shares and 2.9 cents on preferred shares for 2007 earnings, UniCredit Aton said in a note to investors Thursday.

The total dividend payout may equal $1.1 billion, analysts for the bank said. (Bloomberg)




LUKoil Eyes Sicilian Site



LUKoil is holding talks to buy a stake in Italian refiner Erg's Sicilian supersite, two sources close to the potential deal said Thursday.

"They are buying a lot of Russian crude, so a tie-up would make sense. Talks are about buying a stake," a source said, declining to disclose its potential value or the size of the stake. (Reuters)




Solar Firm to Get $100M



NEW YORK -- Suntech Power Holdings, China's largest maker of solar-power modules, said Thursday that it planned to invest up to $100 million in Russian polysilicon-maker Nitol Solar to boost supplies of the main component in photovoltaic panels.

Suntech will acquire newly issued shares of Nitol to gain a minority interest, Suntech said. Nitol already has an agreement to supply Suntech starting next year with refined silicon from a plant in Siberia. (Bloomberg)




LUKoil Settles Lawsuit



WILMINGTON, Delaware -- LUKoil, the country's largest nonstate oil producer, on Thursday won a judge's approval to pay $36.7 million to settle shareholder lawsuits over its 2006 acquisition of Chaparral Resources.

Investors in Chaparral, which explores for oil and natural gas in Kazakhstan, sued in March 2006, contending that LUKoil's offer of $88.6 million, or $5.80 a share, for the 40 percent stake it did not own was too low. (Bloomberg)




Foreign Debt at $44.9Bln



Government foreign debt amounted to $44.9 billion at the end of 2007, the Finance Ministry said.

Last month, the ministry released preliminary figures saying foreign debt declined by 15 percent last year to $44.4 billion. (Bloomberg)




Trade Surplus Widens



The country's trade surplus widened in January as high global energy prices boosted the value of exports, the Central Bank said Thursday.

The surplus reached $18.3 billion, compared with $13.7 billion in December, the Central Bank said. Exports totaled $34 billion in January, the statement said. Imports were $15.8 billion, it said. (Bloomberg)




Budget Surplus Increases



The government's budget surplus reached 8.2 percent of gross domestic product in February from the month before, the Finance Ministry said Thursday, citing preliminary figures.

The surplus increased to 416.7 billion rubles ($17.6 billion) from 243.6 billion rubles in January, the ministry said in a statement. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



Severstal paid 55.5 million rubles ($2.3 million) for the rights to develop two more gold fields in the country's Zabaikalsky region. (Bloomberg)

Abu Dhabi Group said Thursday that it was set to buy Georgia's Standard Bank, part of a $250 million investment in the country. (Bloomberg)