Business in Brief

Dudley Probe Goes On



The labor authorities are continuing to investigate TNK-BP chief executive Robert Dudley for possible violations that may lead to his temporary suspension.

The Moscow Labor Inspectorate officials invited Dudley or his lawyers to visit their office Thursday, TNK-BP spokeswoman Marina Dracheva said.

The authorities may request Dudley's suspension for as long as three years if he is found to be guilty over further labor law violations. (Bloomberg)




Housing Fund Auction



The state-run Housing Fund will hold the first weekly auction of its excess cash with banks Aug. 28.

The amount offered at the first auction could be more than 10 billion rubles ($410 million), Oleg Rurin, head of the fund's department for investing the cash, said Wednesday. "The money may be split between different banks and loaned for different periods," he said. Eventually as much as 120 billion ($5 billion) could be offered, he said. (Bloomberg)




RZD Backs Unit Stake Sale



Russian Railways said Wednesday that it approved the sale of a 20 percent share of its Transcontainer unit in an IPO.

The offering, which is organized by Troika Dialog and Morgan Stanley, is scheduled for this year, the company said. Russian Railways aims to sell a further 15 percent in a public share placement abroad in 2009, it said. (Bloomberg)




Raw Sugar Imports Fall 24%



The country's raw-sugar imports dropped 24 percent in the first seven months of the year after higher duties were imposed to support domestic producers.

Russia imported 1.55 million tons compared with 2.03 million tons per year earlier, the Sugar Producers' Union said Wednesday. (Bloomberg)




Transneft Quits Sberbank



Transneft is seeking loans from new banks after Sberbank raised rates on outstanding loans to corporate clients, Vedomosti said Wednesday.

Sberbank raised rates by an average of 2 percentage points to reach minimum market levels, the newspaper reported today, citing an unidentified top manager at the bank.

Transneft's rate was increased 4 percentage points, to as much as 12 percent, according to Vedomosti. (Bloomberg)




Sberbank Seeks $1Bln



Sberbank is seeking a $1 billion loan from a group of banks, Interfax reported Wednesday, citing an unidentified banker.

Sberbank hired Barclays, BNP Paribas, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Deutsche Bank, DZ Bank, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho, JPMorgan, Royal Bank of Scotland, UniCredit and WestLB to organize the three-year loan, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)




Antanta in Sale Talks



AntantaPioglobal Investment Group, a Russian fund manager and brokerage company, is in talks to sell its business or form a partnership, managing director Sergei Petrov said Wednesday.

He made his comment after Kommersant reported that BNP Paribas, France's largest bank, planned to acquire AntantaPioglobal for $70 million.

Petrov, when reached Wednesday, declined to comment on a possible bid from BNP Paribas. (Bloomberg)