Business in Brief

Auchan Plans New Stores

French retailer Auchan plans to invest 320 million euros ($500 million) to expand in the Moscow region, local government data showed Tuesday, despite legal pressure on one of its outlets.

Some 300 million euros will be spent to open more of the company's Leroy Merlin home-improvement stores by 2010, according to a list obtained by Reuters of the Moscow region's planned investment projects.

The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said Thursday that Auchan's oldest location in Russia was on a plot of land reserved for an agricultural institute and said the company was "in gross violation of the law." (Reuters)

Gazprom, Rosneft Bids

Gazprom and Rosneft submitted bids for exploration rights to oil and gas deposits off the far eastern Kamchatka peninsula, Interfax reported Tuesday.

Gazprom's Kamchatgazprom unit and Rosneft will participate in the state auction for the Koryakia-2 field, which may hold 1.4 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and 650 million tons of oil, the news service said, citing an unidentified government official. (Bloomberg)

MTS Q1 Profit Rises 36%

Mobile TeleSystems, the country's top mobile phone company, said Tuesday that first-quarter profit rose 36 percent on new customers and higher usage.

Net income climbed to $610 million, or 31 cents per share, from $448.6 million, or 23 cents per share, a year earlier, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Adidas' Russia Sales Target

German sports goods maker Adidas expects sales in Russia to reach $1 billion in 2009, chief executive Herbert Hainer told reporters Tuesday.

"Russia and China are the most profitable and dynamically developing regions for Adidas Group in the world," he said. Hainer said the company's sales had been growing by a yearly 50 percent in the past seven years. (Reuters)

MMK Q1 Profit Falls 23%

Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works, the operator of the country's biggest steel mill, said Tuesday that first-quarter profit fell 23 percent after adverse weather and port bottlenecks.

Net income fell to $271 million, or 2.4 cents per share, from $350 million, or 3.4 cents, a year earlier, said the company, also known as MMK. (Bloomberg)

Industrial Output Rises

Industrial production rose an annual 9.2 percent in April, the most in nine months, as automakers rushed to supply Europe's fastest growing car market.

Output compares with a 6.5 percent rate in March, the State Statistics Service said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

Tobacco Firm Boosts Sales

British American Tobacco Russia, the country's largest cigarette producer, said Tuesday that it increased its market share in the first quarter of 2008.

Production grew 25 percent, compared with the same period last year, part of the turnover on the company's $120 million investment last year to boost capacity at its factories. (MT)

For the Record

TMK on Tuesday recommended a fourth-quarter dividend of 1.03 rubles per share, or around 17 cents per Global Depositary Receipt. (Bloomberg)

Food retailer Dixy Group said Tuesday that four-month sales climbed 48 percent after the company opened new stores. (Bloomberg)