Business in Brief

GE Talks to Energy Majors

General Electric is in negotiations with Gazprom, LUKoil, as well as foreign majors in the country including Enel and E.On to sell equipment and provide maintenance, Rod Christy, GE's executive director for Russia and the CIS, told reporters Monday.

The company has already signed five contracts worth a total of $120 million with units of TGK-4 and TGK-8, said Ruslan Pakhomov, the company's Russia director. Christy said the company expected significant growth in the country's energy market in the next five years and that its energy division would open an office in Moscow in September. (MT)

VTB Ups Consumer Loans

VTB-24, VTB's retail banking arm, plans to double its consumer credit portfolio to $13 billion in 2008, its head said Monday.

"The bank will be far more efficient this year than in its first two years," Mikhail Zadornov told reporters, adding that VTB-24 expected to record net profit of 5 billion rubles ($212.7 million) this year against 700 million rubles in 2007. (Reuters)

Kiev Exchange Up for Grabs

KIEV -- Ukraine's main PFTS stock market will transform itself into a joint stock company in the third quarter of this year, a spokesman said Monday, in a move that would open the door for foreign investment or a takeover.

The PFTS has been up to now a nonprofit association. Its rapid growth, although from a small base, has attracted the interest of both the Warsaw Stock Exchange and the RTS. (Reuters)

Cherkizovo to Double SPO

Meat firm Cherkizovo may double the volume of its planned secondary public offering to 10 million shares as its main shareholder considers selling part of his stake, the firm said Monday.

London-listed Cherkizovo, the country's top poultry producer, said the Federal Service for Financial Markets had approved its board's decision to issue up to 5 million new ordinary shares to be listed in the coming months. (Reuters)

RZD to Cut Train Services

ST. PETERSBURG -- Russian Railways said Monday that it would restrict train service through St. Petersburg this month as it upgrades the rail link between there and Moscow.

A total of 77 trains will be canceled from April 18 to 25 and the schedules of 47 other trains running from April 21 to 25 will be changed, the rail operator's Oktyabrskaya division said. (Bloomberg)

GE Sells Security to Russia

General Electric's Homeland Protection unit said Monday that it won an order to supply explosive-detection baggage scanners to Moscow's Domodedovo Airport.

GE will provide scanners using x-ray technology as well as medical-type devices that identify suspicious substances by their molecular structure, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Deripaska Buys Ingosstrakh

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska has won approval to buy 100 percent of insurer Ingosstrakh, said Yulia Bondaryova, an official with the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, Vedomosti reported Monday.

Bekar-Servis, affiliated with Deripaska's Basic Element holding, has won the right to acquire 84 percent of Ingosstrakh, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)