Business in Brief

Altimo-Telenor $1Bln Suit



Mikhail Fridman's Altimo is suing Telenor for $1 billion, alleging that Norway's largest phone company blocked the Ukrainian operations of a company they jointly own.

A unit of Altimo filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Geneva, Altimo said in a statement.

The suit alleges that Telenor breached a shareholder agreement by preventing VimpelCom's entry in the Ukraine in 2004 and 2005, according to the statement.

Telenor said in a statement the claim had no merit and the company would defend itself "vigorously." (Bloomberg)




Eni Eyes Gazprom Swap



ROME -- Eni, Italy's largest oil company, said chief executive Paolo Scaroni and Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller made a "big step" in talks on a possible asset swap during a meeting in Moscow on Tuesday.

The executives also discussed opportunities for cooperation between Eni and Gazprom's oil unit Gazprom Neft, Eni said in an e-mailed statement. (Bloomberg)




RBS, RenCap Deal Off



Royal Bank of Scotland, Britain's second-biggest lender, will cancel its cooperation agreement with Renaissance Capital, Vedomosti reported Tuesday.

RBS is no longer interested in maintaining the accord after the acquisition of parts of ABN Amro, a leading arranger of corporate debt in Russia, the paper said, citing a source. (Bloomberg)




VTB Investment Banking



VTB Group said it planned to invest $500 million by 2011 to build the investment-banking arm into one of the top three in the CIS.

"We are confident that we would be able to build a national champion for the investment market," chief executive Andrei Kostin told reporters Tuesday.

The bank has hired Yury Solovyov, formerly deputy chairman of Deutsche Bank Russia, to head the newly created VTB Invest subsidiary. The bank will have offices in Moscow, London and Singapore, Kostin said. (Bloomberg)




Polyus Gold Stakes Raised



Billionaires Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Prokhorov increased their stakes in Polyus Gold to about 30 percent each, Kommersant reported Tuesday, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

The two men bought shares on the market in the run-up to an April 7 shareholder meeting, the newspaper said. Potanin demanded that a new board be elected and management be made more accountable to shareholders, the paper said. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



Sberbank said Monday that its RAS profit in the first two months of 2008 climbed 63 percent on increased revenue from lending and a change in accounting rules. (Bloomberg)

Geotech Oil Services said Tuesday it sold a stake to three foreign investment funds, Farallon Capital Management, AIG Private Equity and Black River Asset Management, for $100 million as it seeks to expand. (Bloomberg)

Car dealership chain Inchcape said Tuesday it bought full control of its business in St. Petersburg from joint venture partner Olimp Group for $54.8 million. (Bloomberg)

Distiller Synergy said Tuesday it had agreed to buy the Myagkov vodka brand to raise sales in the "subpremium" segment. (Bloomberg)