Business in Brief

Ruble Hits 9-Year High



The ruble rose to its highest level in nine years against the dollar, gaining with the euro on speculation that the European Central Bank will refrain from cutting interest rates.

Against the dollar, the ruble rose as much as 0.6 percent to 23.34, from 23.49 on Tuesday. It dropped 0.5 percent to 37.29 per euro, the lowest level since January 2005. (Bloomberg)




Rolf '07 Profit Rises 34%



Rolf Group, the country's biggest dealer of Mitsubishi Motors cars, said Wednesday that profit surged by 34 percent in 2007.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose to $294 million from $220 million a year earlier, the company said. Sales rose 46 percent to $3.97 billion. Closely held Rolf Group, which says it is the country's top distributor of foreign cars, did not provide net income figures. (Bloomberg)




MTS Says Q4 Profit Jumps



Mobile TeleSystems, the country's largest mobile-phone company, said Wednesday that fourth-quarter profit quadrupled after it added customers and restated earnings for the year-earlier period.

Net income climbed to $460 million, or 23 cents per share, from a restated $110 million, or 6 cents, a year earlier, the company said. (Bloomberg)




Sugar Imports May Drop



Russia, the world's biggest sugar importer, may buy less this year after the government imposed duties on overseas purchases to bolster the domestic industry, the country's Sugar Producers' Union said Wednesday.

Russia may import about 2.5 million tons of raw sugar in 2008, compared with 3 million tons last year, union chairman Andrei Bodin said. (Bloomberg)




MTS Eyes Ukrtelecom Sale



Mobile TeleSystems said Wednesday that it considered the proposed starting price of 12 billion hryvnas ($2.4 billion) for Ukrtelecom "high but realistic."

Ukraine's government, which owns 92.8 percent of Kiev-based Ukrtelecom, pledged this year to auction a 67.8 percent stake after delaying the sale for a decade because of disputes between ministries. (Bloomberg)




Miller in Hungary Talks



Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller held talks on Wednesday with Hungarian Finance Minister Janos Veres on Hungary's participation in a new gas pipeline linking Russia to Central Europe.

The two men met for the second time in two months at Gazprom's Moscow headquarters. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger will speak in Moscow in June at an investor conference organized by Renaissance Capital, the bank said Wednesday. (MT)

LUKoil reached an agreement with De Beers and Archangel Diamond, ending a six-year legal dispute. (Bloomberg)

Russian holdings of U.S. financial assets rose to a record in February, U.S. Treasury figures showed. (Bloomberg)

VimpelCom plans to spend 13.8 billion rubles ($591 million) on dividends for 2007. (Bloomberg)

The National Bank of Georgia increased its main policy rate one percentage point to 12 percent Wednesday. (Bloomberg)