Business in Brief

Trutnev's Trouble Officials



Prosecutors sent Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev a list of officials to discipline, after an audit of the ministry's subsoil licensing agency.

Agency officials created "administrative barriers" for mining companies by setting unlawful payments, restrictions and procedures, the Prosecutor General's Office said Tuesday. The officials were not identified. Prosecutors also said they found "numerous" violations in the licensing of metals and gems deposits, the transfer of mining rights and the enforcement of contracts, environmental laws and safety rules. (Bloomberg)




SUEK Borrows $800M



Siberian Coal and Energy Company said Tuesday that it raised $800 million of loans to finance acquisitions and repay existing debt.

The company, known as SUEK, said it would pay interest of 1.4 percentage points over benchmark rates on a $533 million three-year loan. The company will pay a margin of 1.5 to 1.7 percentage points on a $267 million five-year portion. (Bloomberg)




OGK-5's Full-Year Results



OGK-5, a power generating unit controlled by Enel, on Tuesday reported a profit of 2 billion rubles ($84 million), or 6 kopeks per share, for last year.

Sales rose 27 percent to 33.5 billion rubles in 2007, the utility said. OGK-5's 2006 profit of 3.21 billion rubles, or 10 kopeks a share, included a one-time gain of 3.28 billion rubles from recognizing a deferred tax asset. Excluding that gain, the company had a loss of 59 million rubles, the company said. (Bloomberg)




X5 Investors Snap Up Stock



X5 Retail Group, the country's biggest food retailer, said Tuesday that its investors bought almost all of a stock offering worth more than $1 billion, and the remaining 1.68 million shares will be offered on the market.

X5's investors, including CEO Lev Khasis and Alfa Group, used their rights to buy 46.4 million shares, or 96.5 percent of the offering, the company said. X5 may offer a further 3.77 million of treasury shares, "depending on investor demand," it said. (Bloomberg)




Alcohol and Cigarette Taxes



The government plans to increase annual excise tax on alcohol by 10 percent in 2009 and 2010, more than a previously planned 6.5 percent increase, Vedomosti reported Tuesday, citing a source in the Finance Ministry.

The government also plans to raise the tax on tobacco by 25 percent next year and by 22 percent in 2010, compared with a 21 percent increase planned earlier, Vedomosti said. (Bloomberg)




Local VW Chief May Leave



ST. PETERSBURG -- Volkswagen's head in Russia may leave by July 1 after disagreements over the company's approach to the Russian market, Kommersant reported Tuesday, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

Denis Petrunin, appointed as Russia chief in April 2007, may leave over his preference for large dealerships, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



Novolipetsk Steel, or NLMK, secured European anti-monopoly approval to buy two steel trading companies for 77 million euros ($119 million) to expand exports. (Bloomberg)

Serbia's parliament may ratify a deal giving control of the its national oil company to Gazprom just ahead of a general election, Politika newspaper reported Tuesday. (Bloomberg)