Business in Brief

Gazprom-Vietnam Deal

Gazprom said Friday that it signed an agreement with Vietnam's state oil monopoly, Petrovietnam, to explore four new offshore blocks.

Gazprom said joint company VietGazprom, which has been exploring a Vietnamese offshore deposit since 2000, will operate the fields. Gazprom also said the two firms would create a separate joint venture, GazpromViet, to take part in oil and gas projects in Russia and third countries. State oil firm Zarubezhneft will represent Gazprom in the new venture. (Reuters)

Severstal Buys Liberian Ore

Steelmaker Severstal said Friday that it reached a deal with Liberia's Mano River Resources to buy 61.5 percent of an iron ore deposit there.

Severstal said it would also acquire a 6.29 percent stake in Mano River Resources, which controls African Iron Ore Group. The latter, in turn, owns the exploration rights for the deposit, Putu Range area. (Reuters)

Mechel to List in London

New York-listed Russian coal and steel producer Mechel picked London for the $4 billion share sale in its mining unit, Kommersant reported Friday, citing a source familiar with the plans.

Mechel is planning the unit's IPO for November, the newspaper said. The company will hold all Mechel's coal assets and the Korshunovsky iron-ore processing plant. (Bloomberg)

New Model for Skoda Plant

MILAN, Italy -- Skoda Auto, Volkswagen's Czech division, plans to build the Superb model in Russia starting in 2009, sales chief Fred Kappler said, Automotive News Europe magazine reported Saturday.

The car will be added to a lineup at the Kaluga plant that currently includes Volkswagen's Passat and Skoda's Octavia, the magazine reported in an e-mailed preview of an article appearing Monday. (Bloomberg)

Metals Firm in Plane Talks

Urals Metals and Mining, the country's second-largest copper producer, is in talks to buy 51 percent of Czech plane maker Aircraft Industries, Kommersant reported Friday.

The Czech company needs money to expand output and market its L-410 and L-420 regional aircraft and is willing to sell a controlling stake, said Petr Veseli, deputy director of Aircraft Industries, Kommersant reported. (Bloomberg)

Oil Tax Holiday Extension?

Russia may extend proposed oil tax holidays to all offshore fields and smaller projects, Vedomosti reported Friday.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was to review the proposal at a meeting Monday, the newspaper said. The current draft bill only mentions developments on the continental shelf, in the Timan-Pechora basin and on the Yamal Peninsula, Vedomosti reported. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

The country's net capital inflow in May will be no less than in April, Central Bank first deputy chairman Gennady Melikyan said, Interfax reported Friday. (Bloomberg)

ArcelorMittal is considering building its first factory in Russia, a St. Petersburg official said Friday. (Reuters)

Ukrainian policymakers have overturned the Central Bank council's veto of their revaluation of the hryvna because the country needs to curb inflation, chairman Volodymyr Stelmakh said. (Bloomberg)