Business in Brief

Slavneft Office Searched

Interior Ministry troops searched the main office of oil and gas company Slavneft in Moscow on Thursday, a source in the company said, RIA-Novosti reported.

"They carried out the search and took some documents related to the company's financial activity in 2003," the source said. (MT)

St. Pete Office in New York

ST. PETERSBURG -- The government of St. Petersburg plans to open an office in New York this year as President Vladimir Putin's hometown seeks to lure more U.S. investment.

St. Petersburg's Information Business Center will advise companies interested in the Russian market and promote products developed in the city, the center said Thursday. (Bloomberg)

'Strategic' Hurdles Outlined

The country may require foreign businesses to get government approval before buying stakes in companies that develop "strategic" deposits of oil, gas, diamonds, uranium and other resources, Vedomosti reported Thursday.

Private foreign firms will need state permission to buy more than 10 percent of Russian developers of large deposits under a bill on foreigners' access to strategic industries, Vedomosti said, citing a copy of the bill. Foreign state companies will need permission for stakes larger than 5 percent. (Bloomberg)

Transstroi Registers Unit

ST. PETERSBURG -- Transstroi Engineering, the country's largest builder of transport infrastructure, registered a unit in St. Petersburg and will do more work in the area, said Mikhail Leontyev, director of the local division, Kommersant reported Thursday.

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska's Basic Element owns 50 percent of Transstroi, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

Producer Prices Rise

The cost of goods leaving Russian factories and mines rose at a faster pace in January for the fourth consecutive month, the State Statistics Service said Thursday.

Producer prices in the world's biggest energy exporter increased 25.2 percent, the fastest rate in 3 years, from 25.1 percent in December, the service said. (Bloomberg)

January Economic Growth

The economy grew 7.4 percent in January from a year ago, Interfax reported Thursday, citing a deputy economy minister.

The result was "good" given the unseasonably warm winter last year, Andrei Belousov said, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

Polyus Explorer Spinoff

Polyus Gold, the country's biggest producer of the metal, plans to spin off its exploration unit to focus on increasing production at existing mills, chief executive Yevgeny Ivanov said Thursday.

The unit may be listed in London by May, Ivanov said. Polyus plans to retain a controlling stake. (Bloomberg)

Brysam Buys Bank Stake

Brysam Global Partners, a private-equity firm set up last year by former Citigroup president Robert Willumstad, acquired a 9.9 percent stake in Bank Vozrozhdenie, the bank said Thursday.

Brysam bought the stake for an undisclosed amount, Vozrozhdenie said in a statement. (Bloomberg)

Mechel-RZD 20-Year Deal

Coal and steel producer Mechel said Thursday that it planned to sign a 20-year supply agreement with Russian Railways, or RZD.

Mechel will supply steel products to RZD from 2010 to 2030, the two companies said. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

Total said Thursday that it switched to sea-borne oil deliveries at its refinery in Leuna, Germany, after LUKoil cut pipeline shipments. (Bloomberg)

Silver and gold producer Polymetal said Thursday that it would not pay dividends for a second consecutive year. (Bloomberg)

Sheremetyevo Airport said Wednesday that it planned to add a third runway to boost capacity to 35 million passengers a year. (Bloomberg)