Business in Brief

Norilsk to Tap Party Official

Norilsk Nickel plans to recruit Yury Oleinikov, deputy head of United Russia's executive committee, a source at the miner said Wednesday.

"The negotiations are ongoing, but it is not quite clear which post Oleinikov will occupy," the source said.

The chief of the Federal Tourism Agency, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, known as a longtime friend of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's, was recently nominated as a candidate to the Norilsk CEO post. His candidacy will be voted on at the Norilsk board meeting Friday. (MT)

Transcontainer Share Sale

The board of Russian Railways has approved a public offering of shares in subsidiary Transcontainer and decided to accept no less than 2,974 rubles ($126.9) per share, a board source said Wednesday.

The railways monopoly will float 20 percent of Transcontainer, or 2.8 million shares, on the domestic market, the source said. At the minimum price, the share offer would fetch $1.7 billion. The board did not set a date for the float, the source said. Earlier, the domestic stock offering was planned for October or November 2008. A London float is planned for 2009.

Morgan Stanley and Troika Dialog will manage the float. Investors already hold 15 percent sold for $236.8 million in a private placement last year. (Reuters)

Chevron Shipments Drop

Daily shipments of crude oil through Chevron's terminal at Russia's Black Sea port fell 11 percent in July from June.

The Yuzhnaya Ozereyka-2 terminal shipped an average of 616,675 barrels of oil per day in July, compared with 691,715 bpd in June, according to the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which runs the terminal. It did not give a reason for the decrease. (Bloomberg)

Pharmstandard GDRs Fall

Pharmstandard, Russia's biggest drug maker, fell in London trading after competition authorities in its home market started an investigation of pharmaceutical companies' pricing policies.

Pharmstandard's Global Depositary Receipts fell 66 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $27.58 at 2:55 p.m. after declining as much as 4.4 percent. Four of the GDRs equal one regular share. (Bloomberg)

H1 Wheat Exports Plummet

Russia's wheat exports in the first half fell 72 percent from a year earlier to 1.07 million tons, the Federal Customs Service said Wednesday on its web site.

The value of Russia's wheat exports was $343.9 million, the customs service said. (Bloomberg)

Wal-Mart Mulls Lenta Bid

Wal-Mart Stores, the world's largest retailer, may bid more than $2 billion for superstore chain Lenta, Vedomosti reported Wednesday, citing two unidentified Lenta shareholders.

Wal-Mart, Carrefour of France, Croatia's Agrokor Group and Kesko of Finland beat seven other companies to advance to the second round of bidding for St. Petersburg-based Lenta, the newspaper reported. (Bloomberg)

BP Got $490M for Workers

BP received $490 million since 2003 for employees contracted to work at its Russian oil venture TNK-BP, Vedomosti reported Wednesday, citing documents from a court case in Tyumen.

BP may have to repay TNK-BP part of that amount after the Tyumen Arbitration Court ruled last month that BP's service contract with TNK-BP's management unit was invalid, Vedomosti said. (Bloomberg)