Business in Brief

Pacific Dockworkers Strike



VLADIVOSTOK -- Dockworkers on the Pacific coast staged a one-day walkout Sunday to demand pay rises to keep up with double-digit inflation.

Workers in Nakhodka and Vostochny, in the Primorye region, 9,500 kilometers east of Moscow, massed in the ports to demand wage increases for experienced workers.

Workers in other Pacific ports sounded airhorns and whistles in solidarity Sunday over the stalled negotiations on pay for midlevel dockworkers, currently about 23,000 rubles ($1,000) per month. (Reuters)




BASF Buys Into Gas Field



Germany's BASF paid Gazprom about $2 billion in assets and cash for a 25 percent interest in the Yuzhno-Russkoye natural gas field, Vedomosti reported Saturday.

Gazprom was allowed to increase a stake in Wingas, its German gas-distribution venture with BASF, to 50 percent minus one share, and to join BASF's Wintershall unit in producing and exploring for natural gas in Libya, the newspaper said. BASF also paid Gazprom 598 million euros ($941 million) in cash, Vedomosti said, citing Gazprom documents. (Bloomberg)




Shmatko on Nuclear Energy



Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said Sunday that the country would actively develop its atomic energy industry in response to increasing energy demand, Itar-Tass reported.

Speaking at a summit of G8 energy ministers in Aomori, Japan, Shmatko said "atomic energy is a realistic solution to the problem of the imminent energy deficit," Itar-Tass reported. (MT)




Promsvyazbank Bond Issue



Promsvyazbank, the Russian bank owned by billionaire brothers Dmitry and Alexei Ananyev, plans to sell more than $200 million of bonds to international investors, Interfax reported Saturday.

The lender, the country's 12th-largest by assets, has hired HSBC Holdings and ABN Amro to manage the sale of three-year notes scheduled to take place by the end of the month, chairman Alexei Ananyev said, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)




Trade Surplus Falls in April



The country's trade surplus contracted in April from the previous month, the Central Bank said Saturday.

The surplus fell to $15.5 billion in the month after expanding to $16.3 billion in February, the Central Bank said in a statement on its web site. (Bloomberg)




Magna to Double Sedans



ST. PETERSBURG -- Magna International plans to double sedan output in Russia next year as North America's largest auto-parts maker seeks to capitalize on demand from the country's emerging middle class while cutting jobs elsewhere.

The Canadian company, which also makes autos, aims to roll out as many as 150,000 vehicles based on Chrysler's Sebring as part of a partnership with billionaire Oleg Deripaska's GAZ, co-chief executive Siegfried Wolf said Saturday. (Bloomberg)




RusAl Plans Finnish Port



United Company RusAl said Sunday that it planned to spend $300 million on building a shipping facility on the Gulf of Finland.

The complex will be in operation by 2011 with an initial shipment capacity of 2.5 million tons of alumina and 2 million tons of aluminum, the company said. (Bloomberg)