Business in Brief

Banks Borrow $860M

Russian banks borrowed 21.1 billion rubles ($860 million) of unspent budget money Tuesday at an auction aimed at supporting liquidity as companies seek funds to pay taxes due by the end of the month, the Finance Ministry said.

The ministry offered 100 billion rubles at the auction, and banks borrowed at an average interest rate of 8.06 percent, the ministry said in a statement.

"The fact that banks took the money at a high rate shows that the situation remains tense, though it is far from critical, UniCredit analyst Vladimir Osakovsky said. (Bloomberg)

MDM Profit Falls 20%

MDM Bank said Tuesday that its first-half profit fell 20 percent.

Net income dropped to 2.2 billion rubles ($88.8 million), the bank said. Second-quarter profit increased 16 percent to 1.5 billion. Assets rose to 352.4 billion rubles from 321.5 billion rubles on Dec. 31. (Bloomberg)

$150M Volga-Dnepr Loan

Volga-Dnepr, the world's largest airline carrying oversized cargo for customers including armies, said Tuesday that it had borrowed $150 million to repay existing debt.

The four-year loan was arranged by VTB Bank Europe, with UniCredit SpA, Banque Societe Generale Vostok and Anglo Romanian Bank providing some of the financing, Volga-Dnepr said.

Part of the debt being refinanced is an $80 million bridge loan raised in July 2007, it said, without providing details of pricing. (Bloomberg)

Shell, Kalmykia Sign Deal

Royal Dutch Shell signed a cooperation deal Tuesday with the Kalmykia republic, laying the groundwork for research, exploration and production.

The region "has significant hydrocarbon reserves. However, these resources are located at great depths, considerably increasing costs and complexity of their exploration," Kalmykia's president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, said in a statement released by Shell. (Bloomberg)

Oil Loaded in Ceyhan

ISTANBUL -- Tankers at the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan began loading oil from a BP pipeline on Tuesday, three weeks after an explosion on the link disrupted flows of Azeri crude to international markets.

Two tankers were being loaded and were to sail Tuesday, said Murat Lecompte, an Istanbul-based spokesman for BP. Production is increasing at BP's Azeri oil field and all output is feeding the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, he said, declining to say how much of the link's 1 million-barrel-a-day capacity is being used. (Bloomberg)

X5 to Get Back $200M

X5 Retail Group said Tuesday that the former owners of the Carousel superstore chain would repay about $200 million of the acquisition price.

About $160 million will be paid to X5 after some of Carousel's development contracts are terminated, investor relations director Anna Kareva said. X5 will also receive $40 million as the former owners comply with obligations under an option agreement. X5 agreed to pay $940 million for Carousel. (Bloomberg)

Dixy Sales Advance 48%

Dixy Group said Tuesday sales in the first seven months of the year advanced 48 percent as it opened more stores.

Revenue increased to $1.13 billion from $765.5 million a year earlier, it said. Dixy had 409 outlets by the end of the period, compared with 353 in the first seven months of 2007.