Business in Brief

Ruble Falls After Vote



The ruble fell against the euro and dollar after both Russia's houses of parliament voted to recognize the independence of two breakaway regions in neighboring Georgia.

It currency has lost more than 3 percent versus the dollar since Aug. 7.

The vote is a "contributing factor" to the ruble's decline, said Lars Christensen, chief emerging-markets analyst in Copenhagen at Danske Bank.

The ruble slipped as much as 0.2 percent against the euro and 0.4 percent to the dollar, and was at 36.0953 per euro by 5:07 p.m. in Moscow, from 36.0644 on Aug. 22. The currency slipped to 24.4208 per dollar, from 24.3850.

Those movements caused the ruble to slip 0.1 percent to 29.6712 versus the basket, from 29.6402 at the end of last week. (Bloomberg)




Mechel Eyes Power Plants



Coal and steel producer Mechel plans to acquire more power plants in Bulgaria and Romania, Prime-Tass reported Monday.

The company will boost output at the Bulgarian power plant it bought in 2007 by one-third this year and take part in more state tenders of coal-fired plants, the news service cited Vladimir Polin, chief executive officer of Mechel's management company, as saying in an interview.

Mechel is also considering expanding European exports of special steels by 20 percent to 25 percent a year with new clients, Polin said. This year, Mechel will export 250,000 tons of special steel to Europe, Prime-Tass said. (Bloomberg)




Foreign Car Sales Up 40%



Russian sales of foreign automobiles jumped 40 percent in July from a year earlier, led by Toyota and Hyundai, the Association of European Businesses in Russia said Monday.

Sales of foreign-branded cars, including those produced locally, rose to 56,493 units in the period, the association said in an e-mailed statement, without providing a comparative figure for last year. (Bloomberg)




Grain Harvest Up 41%



Russian farmers reaped 75.3 million tons of grain so far this season, about 41 percent more than a year earlier, the Agriculture Ministry said Monday.

Farmers harvested 25.7 million hectares of land, or 55 percent of the targeted area, as of Monday, the ministry said in an e-mailed statement. The figures are based on the so-called bunker weight, measured before the grain is cleaned and dried. (Bloomberg)




Highveld H1 Profit Soars



Evraz Group's Highveld Steel & Vanadium, the world's biggest vanadium producer, said its first-half profit more than doubled as steel prices rose.

Net income increased to 1.47 billion rand ($190 million), or 14.77 rand a share, from 644 million rand, or 6.49 rand a share, a year earlier, Highveld said in a statement to Johannesburg's stock exchange Monday.

The company expects domestic demand to "come under pressure" in coming months. (Bloomberg)




Promsvyazbank H1 Up 43%



Promsvyazbank, the Russian lender controlled by billionaire brothers Dmitry and Alexei Ananyev, said first-half profit rose 43 percent as it boosted lending.

Net income increased to 2.6 billion rubles ($106.4 million) from 1.8 billion in the same period last year, Promsvyazbank said in an e-mailed statement Monday. Assets rose 30 percent to 380.5 billion rubles, the company said. (Bloomberg)