Business in Brief

Russia's U.S. Debt Holdings



The country currently holds less than $30 billion in the debt of U.S. mortgage agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Sergei Stepashin, head of the Audit Chamber, was quoted by news agency as saying Tuesday.

At the start of 2008, Russia held $100 billion in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Home Loan Banks. (Reuters)




Severstal's $400M Buyback



Severstal said Tuesday that it would buy back $400 million, or about 2.8 percent, of its shares and Global Depositary Receipts in the next six to 10 months.

The price is based on Monday's close of the company's London-listed GDRs of $14.04, Severstal said. The shares and the GDRs will then be repurchased and held by a subsidiary. (Reuters)




LUKoil Execs Boost Stakes



LUKoil CEO Vagit Alekperov and vice president Leonid Fedun have bought 574,314 shares in the company for 911 million rubles ($35.3 million), the group said Tuesday.

The company said Alekperov had bought 298,069 shares and Fedun another 276,245 on Sept. 11, taking Alekperov's share to 20.58 percent and Fedun's to 9.25 percent. (Reuters)




Izosimov Passes on TNK-BP



Alexander Izosimov, CEO of VimpelCom, has refused an offer to head TNK-BP, Interfax reported Tuesday.

A market source with knowledge of the situation said, "As far as I know, a recruiting agency made such an offer to Izosimov, but he turned it down," the news agency reported. (MT)




HSBC, Hermitage Ruling



The High Court of Justice of the British Virgins Islands has issued an injunction against Boily Systems Limited, which acquired three Russian investment firms that previously belonged to HSBC and the Hermitage Fund, according to a statement circulated Tuesday by the Hermitage Fund.

The court prohibited Boily from any adverse actions against HSBC's Russian investment vehicles. The ruling will be used in Russian arbitration hearings Wednesday, the statement said. (MT)




Artemyev on Prosecution



Russia should ensure that anti-monopoly violations are subject to criminal prosecution, Federal Anti-Monopoly Service chief Igor Artemyev said Tuesday.

"All too often government agencies reach for administrative methods to regulate the economy," Artemyev said. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



Renova Group said Tuesday that it had raised a $350 million loan from a consortium of seven banks. (Reuters)

Gazprom said Tuesday that it had agreed to gradual price increases for Armenia to bring the price the country pays for its gas to "European" levels by 2011. (Bloomberg)

Eight central and southeast European countries plan to link their gas pipeline networks to import Azeri gas and diversify sources of supply away from Russia, a senior Bulgarian official said Tuesday. (Reuters)

UralChem said Tuesday that it had dropped plans for a share sale this year. (Bloomberg)

PetroNeft Resources dropped 23 percent in London after failing to find oil or gas at its West Korchegskaya 1 well. (Bloomberg)