Business in Brief

Foreign Car Sales Drop 12%

Foreign car sales in Russia, Europe's biggest auto market, declined 12 percent last month amid a war with Georgia.

Sales of foreign-brand cars, including those made in Russia, fell to 175,557 from 199,332 a month earlier, the Association of European Businesses said Thursday. (Bloomberg)

Metalloinvest to Boost Loan

Metalloinvest plans to increase the size of a syndicated loan to $1.6 billion from $1.3 billion, Interfax reported Thursday, citing an unidentified banker.

The deal is expected to be completed next week, the news service said. (Bloomberg)

Severstal Seeking $1.5Bln

Severstal is seeking a $1.5 billion loan to repay existing debt, bankers with knowledge of the transaction said Thursday.

The five-year loan, which is secured by the steelmaker's export contracts, will pay interest of 1.85 percentage points over interbank rates, said two bankers involved, who declined to be identified because details are private.

The company hired Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale and Royal Bank of Scotland Group to arrange the transaction. (Bloomberg)

Sberbank Raising $1.2Bln

Lenders to Sberbank began taking orders for a $1.2 billion loan that will help refinance existing debt.

Deutsche Bank and other arrangers started marketing the deal to other lenders on Wednesday, said two bankers involved, who declined to be identified before the deal is complete.

The three-year loan pays annual interest of 85 basis points more than the London interbank offered rate, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The bank paid a margin of 45 basis points more than Libor to raise a three-year loan for $750 million in November. (Bloomberg)

36.6 Says Q2 Profit Down

Pharmacy chain 36.6 said Thursday that profit declined by one-third in the second quarter as administrative and debt costs rose.

Net income slid to $900,000 from $1.4 million in the same period last year, 36.6 said. Sales jumped 50 percent to $278 million. The retailer's sales increased 43 percent to $559 million in the first half of 2008. (Bloomberg)

UkrTatNafta Sell-Off Order

KIEV -- A Kiev court ordered the liquidation of Ukrainian refining company UkrTatNafta on Sept. 5, Kommersant-Ukraine reported Thursday, citing an official at the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office.

The ruling is ungrounded and has already been appealed, said Marina Savelova, a lawyer for Tatneft, which owns 37.4 percent of UkrTatNafta, the newspaper reported. (Bloomberg)

Buyout of NIS Minorities

Gazprom Neft may pay 428 million euros ($597 million) more to buy out individual minority investors in Naftna Industrija Srbije, the Serbian state oil company it agreed to acquire in January, Kommersant reported Thursday.

The oil arm of Gazprom must make a buyout offer to the individual minority shareholders, Serbian Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic said, the newspaper reported. Those investors own about 20 percent of the company, the report said, citing the Serbian government. Dinkic said the sum should be at least 428 million euros. (Bloomberg)