Business in Brief

Norilsk Releases H1 Results



Norilsk Nickel, the country's biggest mining company, said Thursday that it increased nickel output by 14 percent in the first half of the year, and copper production by 3.1 percent.

The company produced 143,407 tons of nickel, compared with 126,032 tons in the year-earlier period, Norilsk said.

Copper output rose to 208,046 tons from 201,867 tons. Palladium output totaled 1.44 million ounces and platinum was 338,000 ounces, Norilsk said, without providing a comparison. (Bloomberg)




Russneft Bid May Progress



Billionaire Oleg Deripaska's application to buy oil producer Russneft may be considered by the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service after the state dropped tax cases against the oil company, Vedomosti reported Thursday.

Three out of seven tax cases on the sale of Russneft shares were closed Wednesday.

The anti-monopoly service is now able to review Deripaska's application to buy Russneft, Vedomosti said, citing a source at the service. (Bloomberg)




State to Support Fertilizers



The government has pledged to support fertilizer makers after imposing export taxes to dampen domestic prices.

A new committee is being created to develop the fertilizer market, the Industry and Trade Ministry said in a statement on its web site Wednesday. No further details were given. (Bloomberg)




Zinc Firm's Profit Falls 80%



Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant, the country's largest zinc producer, said Thursday that net profit fell 80 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2008 to 109 million rubles ($4.65 million) on low metal prices.

Revenues fell 20 percent to 2.9 billion rubles, while earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization fell 61 percent to 400 million rubles, Chelyabinsk said in a statement. (Reuters)




Gazprom Q2 Profit Rises



Gazprom reported on Thursday a 78 percent rise in its net profit, calculated under Russian Accounting Standards, in the second quarter of 2008.

It said net profit rose to 131.24 billion rubles ($5.60 billion) in the second quarter from 73.72 billion rubles in the same year-ago period.

Gazprom also said earnings rose to 285.7 billion rubles in the first half of 2008, a 106 percent increase from 138.67 billion rubles in the first six months of 2007. (Reuters)




Gunvor's $370M Loan



Oil trader Gunvor, which handles one-third of the country's crude exports, said Thursday that it borrowed $370 million in its debut syndicated loan to fund "bold" expansion plans.

"Gunvor has enjoyed rapid growth over the past decade, and we have bold plans to ensure continued expansion in existing and new markets," Gunvor said in a statement. (Reuters)




Aeroflot Cool on JAT Price



Aeroflot said Thursday that it could pull out of a tender for a stake of up to 51 percent in Serbian airline JAT Airways because of the high price.

"Paying for an airline which is worth practically nothing makes no sense with the current fuel prices. We will most likely refuse," Aeroflot spokeswoman Irina Dannenberg said. Serbia on Thursday set a minimum price of 51 million euros ($79.66 million) for the stake. (Reuters)