Business in Brief

VTB Interest in Inter RAO



VTB Group, the country's second-largest bank, is considering participating in European projects with Inter RAO, VTB senior vice president Valery Lukyanenko said Monday, Prime-Tass news agency reported.

He said the bank might provide credit to Inter RAO, Unified Energy System's international unit, or become an investor in European projects worth as much as $100 million, the news agency reported. (MT)




New Deputy Ministers



Prime Minister Vladimir Putin named several new deputy ministers on Monday evening, including three to the Energy Ministry and one to the Agriculture Ministry, Itar-Tass reported.

The new deputy energy ministers are Anatoly Yanovsky, a former deputy industry and energy minister, Vyacheslav Sinyugin, chief executive of RusHydro, and Stanislav Svetlitsky, head of investment company Yevraziisky, RBC reported on its web site. Stanislav Aleinik was made a deputy agriculture ministry, Itar-Tass said. (MT)




VTB to Split Planned Loan



VTB will split its planned syndicated loan into a $1 billion three-year tranche and a $400 million 18-month tranche, a banking source said Monday.

The loan will be signed next week, the source added. The first tranche will be provided by the organizer banks, while the second will be given by other banks. (Reuters)




Rostelecom's Dividend



Fixed-line telecom operator Rostelecom will pay 2.36 billion rubles in dividends from its 2007 net profit, up from with 1.80 billion in 2006.

Rostelecom, controlled by national telecoms group Svyazinvest, on Monday approved a dividend of 1.94 rubles per common share and 3.88 rubles per preference share. That compares with 1.48 rubles and 2.96 rubles, respectively, in the previous year.

Net profit under Russian accounting standards, used to calculate dividends, increased to 9.42 billion rubles in 2007 from 7.19 billion rubles in 2006. (Reuters)




Integra Buys Well Firm



Integra Group, the first Russian oil field service provider to list shares in London, said Monday that it bought a west Siberian company that specializes in overhauling oil wells for $54 million.

Integra will pay half in cash and the rest in shares for Nizhnevartovsky Kapitalny Remont Skvazhin, known as NKRS, to carry out well work overs, which prolong or restore output at mature fields, the company said. The purchase price includes $1.8 million of debt. (Bloomberg)




Severstal Loan Commitment



Severstal, the country's largest steelmaker, won agreement for a bridge loan of as much as $900 million to fund a $670 million offer for Esmark, Severstal spokesman Michael Henson, based in New York, said Monday.

Severstal obtained letters of commitment from ABN Amro, BNP Paribas and Citibank to underwrite the bridge loan, Reuters reported Monday. (Bloomberg)




Budget Surplus Statistics



The government's budget surplus amounted to 8.2 percent of gross domestic product in the first five months, the Finance Ministry said Monday, citing preliminary figures.

The surplus rose to 1.26 trillion rubles ($53.6 billion) from 1.08 billion rubles in April, the ministry said. (Bloomberg)