Business in Brief

Sales of 3.5 Million iPhones



Apple expects to sell 3.5 million iPhones in Russia in the next two years, according to market sources familiar with new deals being struck by Russian carriers.

Up to 600,000 iPhones have already flooded into Russia through unauthorized sales, but now at least two carriers have signed an official framework agreement with the manufacturer and one more deal is expected in days, according to analysts and market sources.

A market source said last week that Mobile TeleSystems had agreed with Apple to sell iPhones, probably from October. Eldar Murtazin, analyst with Mobile Research Group, said MTS was targeting sales of 1 million iPhones within the next two years. (Reuters)




Tatneft Profit at $260.9M



Tatneft said Friday that its net profit totaled 6.34 billion rubles ($260.9 million) in the first quarter of this year.

Tatneft said in a statement that its sales and other operating revenues calculated to U.S. generally accepted accounting principles amounted to 109.05 billion rubles in January-March. The company gave no comparisons as this is the first time it has published publishing quarterly financial results. (Reuters)




Oil Pipeline to Reopen



ISTANBUL -- The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which carries crude oil from Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia, may resume full operations within days after a fire halted exports, a BP spokeswoman said Saturday.

"We are carrying out integrity testing on the pipeline," Tamam Bayatly said. "As part of that we are ramping up the flow into the line. That will go on until we can reach full production next week." She did not specify a date.

Separately, the Baku-Supsa pipeline, which pumps crude to Georgia's Black Sea region and was closed during the military conflict there with Russia, remains shut "as a precaution," Bayatly said. (Bloomberg)




Repsol Wants Bigger Stake



Repsol YPF, Spain's largest oil company, is looking to boost its stake back to 10 percent in West Siberian Resources, a Stockholm-traded Russian oil producer, said West Siberian's chief executive, Maxim Barski.

West Siberian agreed in January to merge with Alliance Oil of Russia, paying about $1.5 billion in stock and diluting Repsol's stake to just over 3 percent from the 10 percent it held since 2006.

A Repsol official, speaking by phone from Madrid on Friday, said the company has no formal plans to raise its stake in West Siberian. (Bloomberg)




Black Earth Cuts Outlook



Black Earth Farming, an owner and developer of agricultural land in Russia, fell the most in a month in Stockholm trading after cutting its outlook for the year's harvested area.

Its shares declined 5.7 percent after the company said the area to be harvested this year is expected to be 143,600 hectares, down from a previous estimate of 148,267 hectares. It cited "late machinery supply which led to some delays in planting and certain fields being written off after poor seed germination or high weed population." (Bloomberg)




India's Imperial Bid Backed



NEW DELHI -- A government panel has approved a bid by India's state Oil and Natural Gas to buy Imperial Energy, India's Business Standard reported.

The Indian oil firm has submitted an initial bid of ?12.90 per share, or about $2.96 billion, but it stood ready to raise that to ?15 if China's Sinopec made a higher offer, the paper said. (Reuters)