Business in Brief

Nord Stream Building Plans



RIGA, Latvia -- The Nord Stream consortium said Tuesday that it expected to get permission from states to start construction by the end of 2009 and expected no slippage in its timetable.

The consortium, owned by Gazprom, E.On Ruhrgas, BASF's Wintershall unit and Dutch Gasunie, plans to build a 1,220-kilometer gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea, from Russia to Germany.

"We expect permits to come at the end of 2009," Nord Stream financial director Paul Corcoran said. (Reuters)




VimpelCom's Corbina Stake



VimpelCom said Tuesday that it had signed a deal to buy the remaining 49 percent of Internet provider Corbina Telecom it does not already own for around $404 million.

"The purchase … is a logical step in the execution of our strategy to build an integrated Russian telecoms operator," VimpelCom CEO Alexander Izosimov said. The stake is owned by Alexander Mamut's Inure Enterprises. (Reuters)




Caspian Pipe Posts Profit



PARIS -- The Chevron-led Caspian Pipeline Consortium on Tuesday reported its first profit in 2007 after increasing the tariff to pump oil from Kazakhstan to the Black Sea.

The group's net income totaled $423 million last year, it said. (Bloomberg)




S&P Docks Renova



Standard & Poor's Ratings Services put Renova Holding Limited, the investment vehicle of billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, on its CreditWatch list Tuesday with a "negative" prognosis because of growing debt, Interfax reported.

"The CreditWatch placement reflects our concerns that Renova's sizable acquisitions of stakes in various Russian electricity companies, and of an additional stake in Swiss manufacturing company Oerlikon Corporation, could have substantially increased its debt," Standard & Poor's credit analyst Yelena Anankina said, Interfax reported. (MT)




Gas Cartel in Doubt



The world's top gas exporting nations will postpone holding a high-level forum to October from June, as the sides cannot agree on whether to form a body similar to the OPEC oil group, Russian officials said Tuesday.

This week, Russia is hosting a working group from gas exporting nations, which should come up with a draft charter or a code of rules for the new organization. (Reuters)




Allianz Plans Russia Centers



German insurer Allianz, which provides financial services in Russia, is planning to develop a network of treatment centers across the country, a company official said Tuesday, Interfax reported.

Allianz Eurasia head Hannes Chopra said the company was in talks with potential partners for treatment centers in cities with populations of more than 100,000, Interfax reported. (MT)




For the Record



VSMPO-Avisma plans to borrow $1 billion, Interfax reported Tuesday, citing unidentified bankers. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller on Tuesday held talks on oil and gas projects with the government of Turkmenistan. (Bloomberg)

Regional lender Bank Vozrozhdenie said Tuesday that first-quarter profit more than doubled. (Bloomberg)

Kazakhstan on Tuesday reduced its 2009 economic growth forecast to 6 percent from 9.2 percent. (Bloomberg)