Business in Brief

MegaFon Q4 Profit Up 55%



MegaFon said Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit rose 55 percent as the company added customers and usage increased.

Net income advanced to $375 million from $242.5 million a year earlier, the company said. Sales gained 41 percent to $1.58 billion. (Bloomberg)




Growth on Pace to Hit 8%



The economy expanded an annual 8 percent in the first quarter, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry said in a first estimate of growth this year.

Growth accelerated from 7.4 percent in the first quarter last year, chief forecaster Gennady Kuranov said in a statement on the ministry's web site. (Bloomberg)




Media Unite on Copyright



Several of the country's leading mass media outlets agreed at a conference Thursday to develop joint measures to protect their copyrighted material from widespread infringements on the Internet, Gazeta.ru reported.

The All-Russia State Television and Radio Company, Kommersant publishing house, Interfax, RIA-Novosti, Sports.ru and Gazeta.ru agreed to work on the creation of legal and technological means to fight violations of intellectual property rights, the site said. (MT)




Comstar Posts Q4 Profit



Comstar United Telesystems, billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov's telecommunications company, on Thursday reported a fourth-quarter profit, helped by a non-cash gain and acquisitions. The stock gained as much as 6.2 percent.

Net income was $51.8 million, or 12 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $63.1 million, or 18 cents, a year earlier, the company said. (Bloomberg)




Snag for Financial Hub Plan



The Finance Ministry opposes a proposal from the country's markets regulator aimed at turning Moscow into a world financial center, Kommersant reported on its web site Thursday.

The plan, developed by the Federal Service for Financial Markets, would allow for a merger of MICEX and the RTS, simply the registration of new stocks and bonds, and eliminate taxes on securities transactions, Kommersant said. (Bloomberg)




Reserves at Nearly $512Bln



Foreign currency and gold reserves rose to a record $511.8 billion last week, the Central Bank said Thursday.

The value increased by $3.8 billion in the week ended April 11, after rising $1.2 billion in the previous week, the bank said. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



MegaFon said Thursday that it was in talks with Apple to offer the first legal iPhone service in Russia. (Bloomberg)

Nissan Motor said Thursday that it would enter the country's light truck market this year, launching two models in September and another four over the next three years. (Reuters)

Russian Railways said Thursday that it would spend around $16 billion on improving passenger operations through 2014. (Bloomberg)

Basic Element, LUKoil and Russneft may bid for a terminal complex in Taganrog owned by Yugtranzitservis, Kommersant reported. (Bloomberg)

The country plans to spend 97 billion rubles by 2020 rebuilding its icebreaker fleet. (Bloomberg)