Business in Brief

RTS Futures Contracts Leap

Trading of RTS Index futures contracts grew sixfold in the first quarter of this year, faster than trading of any major financial-derivatives contract in the world, according to Futures Industry Magazine.

The number of RTS Index contracts traded in the first quarter of 2008 was 20.6 million, compared with 3.37 million contracts in the year-earlier period. That is faster than trading-volume growth in any other noncommodities derivative, the magazine said. (Bloomberg)

Reserves Hit $551.5Bln

The country's foreign currency and gold reserves, the world's third-largest, rose to a record $551.5 billion last week, the Central Bank said Thursday.

The value of reserves increased by $2.4 billion in the week ended Friday, the Central Bank said. The reserves gained $500 million in the previous week. (Bloomberg)

Rolls-Royce Opens Office

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rolls-Royce Group, the world's second-biggest maker of aircraft engines, has opened its third Russian office, in St. Petersburg, to supply shipbuilders.

Rolls-Royce's marine division has 5 million euros ($7.8 million) worth of contracts to supply parts to Vyborg Shipyard and Admiralteiskiye Verfi shipyard, the company said Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

No Steel Tax Expected

The country is unlikely to introduce a tax on steel exports in response to complaints by domestic oil producers that pipe prices are too high, Vedomosti reported Thursday.

The government is instead proposing long-term contracts to set prices, the newspaper said, citing several unidentified officials. The Industry and Trade Ministry will also suggest suspending import duties on pipes and other steel products and increasing export taxes on scrap, Vedomosti said. (Bloomberg)

$600M for Golf Courses

Andrei Komarov and Alexander Fyodorov, the owners of Chelyabinsk Pipe Works, plan to spend $600 million building golf courses across the country, Kommersant reported Thursday, citing a source familiar with the plan.

The project is a private investment by the two men, the newspaper reported. Their ChTPZ Group controls pipe producers Chelyabinsk and Pervouralsky Novotrubny Works, the report said. (Bloomberg)

Rosneft to Fix Plant

Rosneft said Thursday that it would resume full production at its Kuibyshev plant by Friday after completing repairs at a reformer unit.

The unit was shut down Monday because of a problem with a condenser coil, spokesman Nikolai Manvelov said. While there was "no big effect" on production, Manvelov said Rosneft was obliged to inform traders about the stoppage at the plant, which has an annual capacity of 7 million tons. (Bloomberg)

Mechel May Raise $2Bln

Mechel, the country's largest coking coal miner, will price its preferred share placement in Frankfurt and Moscow by July 22 and could raise more than $2 billion, a source close to the placement said Thursday.

New York-listed Mechel, Russia's sixth-largest steelmaker, will begin a roadshow for the placement July 2 after announcing the deal next week, the source said. (Reuters)