Business in Brief

Trade Surplus Shrinks

The country's trade surplus shrank in February from the previous month as imports increased faster than exports, the Central Bank said Monday.

The surplus dropped to $14.63 billion in the month from $18.96 billion in January, the bank said in a statement. Exports reached $35.56 billion, a monthly increase of 3 percent, it said. Imports totaled $20.93 billion, 34 percent more than in January. (Bloomberg)

Polyus Will Retain Board

Polyus Gold, the country's biggest producer of the metal, said Monday that it would retain its board after quarreling shareholders Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Prokhorov agreed to support the existing management.

Polyus will continue with its current board and the charter will not be amended, the company said. Prokhorov and Potanin said Friday that their jointly owned KM-Invest would vote to re-elect the Polyus board. KM-Invest has assets valued at $11 billion, including 7.4 percent of Polyus. (Bloomberg)

Glonass to Have 30 Satellites

The country plans to expand its Glonass navigation network, a rival to the U.S. Global Positioning System, to 30 satellites to protect from failure.

Glonass will have six spare satellites in case one or more of the 24 needed to make the system work malfunctions, Yury Urlichich, head of the Russian Research Institute of Space-Instrument Building, said Monday. (Bloomberg)

Mechel to Raise $1.5Bln

Miner and steelmaker Mechel plans to raise $1.5 billion by July 15 by placing preferred shares, a banking source said Monday.

The source said the placement would not dilute the existing shareholder structure at Mechel, which is listed in New York and Moscow. "It will be a semi-debt instrument," the source said on condition of anonymity. Mechel declined to comment. (Reuters)

Ukraine Gas Market 'Chaos'

Ukraine's natural gas market is in "chaos" after the government issued a decree banning intermediaries from selling imports of the fuel, Vedomosti reported Monday, citing an unidentified manager at trader UkrGazEnergo.

Ukraine is forcing industrial consumers to abandon UkrGazEnergo in favor of state-run energy company Naftogaz Ukrainy, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

Sovkomflot said Monday that 2007 profit climbed to $470.8 million after it merged with rival shipper Novoship. (Bloomberg)

Isuzu Motors, Japan's biggest maker of light-duty trucks, said Monday that it would assemble vehicles in Russia with Severstal-Avto beginning in August. (Bloomberg)

Severstal borrowed 600 million euros ($942 million) from banks led by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development to help fund a program to cut greenhouse gas emissions. (Bloomberg)

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has postponed its verdict on Gazprom's planned acquisition of coal miner SUEK, by two months, Interfax reported Monday. (Bloomberg)

Walt Disney has agreed to license its movies, action shows and cartoons to CTC Media, the country's fourth-biggest television broadcaster. (Bloomberg)