Business in Brief

Kovykta Investigation

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Yury Trutnev ordered an investigation be conducted into compliance with license agreements at the Kovykta gas field, Interfax reported Tuesday.

Trutnev told a ministry watchdog to conduct the investigation, which should start in the middle of this month, the news service said, citing the ministry's press service. TNK-BP, Kovykta's project operator, declined to comment, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)

Timchenko's Novatek Stake

A group of investors including Gennady Timchenko, co-founder of Geneva-based oil trader Gunvor International, now holds more than 5 percent in Russia's second-largest gas company Novatek.

Timchenko, whose Gunvor handles one-third of Russia's seaborne oil exports, on Oct. 3 raised his stake in Novatek through Luxembourg-based Volga Resources SICAV SIF, said Dominique Winther, an outside spokeswoman for Volga at PRP public relations. Volga was created by Timchenko and other unidentified investors, she said.

"Volga Resources has a wide array of other investments," Winther said, declining to give details on other investments. "Timchenko has a small portfolio of various Russian equities, but his holdings are not significant in particular companies." (Bloomberg)

RZD Profit Rises 3.6%

ST. PETERSBURG -- Russian Railways said Tuesday that profit climbed 3.6 percent last year as it increased cargo and passenger operations.

Net income advanced to 145 billion rubles ($5.54 billion), the company said in a statement. Sales grew 16 percent to 1.16 trillion rubles, the statement said. (Bloomberg)

UkrTatNafta Processing Fall

KIEV -- UkrTatNafta, Ukraine's second-biggest refinery, cut oil processing by 55 percent in the first nine months of the year from a year earlier, Ekonomicheskiye Izvestia newspaper reported Tuesday.

UkrTatNafta refined 2.1 million tons of crude from January through September as oil supply to the plant fell by 60 percent, the newspaper said, citing a statement from the country's Fuel and Energy Ministry. Tatneft, a shareholder in the refinery, halted oil shipments to UkrTatNafta after the plant was seized by a private security service Oct. 19, 2007. (Bloomberg)

TNK-BP Hires Official

TNK-BP hired Sergei Fyodorov, a former official from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, to be a vice president, Vedomosti reported Tuesday.

Fyodorov's most recent post at the ministry was head of the state policy department, the report said. Fyodorov will be put in charge of developing projects in northern Krasnoyarsk and Yamal-Nenets regions.

Fyodorov left the ministry in June, spokesman Nikolai Gudkov said Tuesday. Marina Dracheva, a spokeswoman for TNK-BP, could not immediately comment. (Bloomberg)

Fesco Unit Takes Out Loan

ST. PETERSBURG -- Transgarant, the rail unit of Russian shipper Fesco Transport Group, borrowed $90 million from a group of banks led by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., ING Bank and HSH Nordbank.

The five-year syndicated loan will be used to upgrade Transgarant's rolling stock and refinance its short-term debt, Fesco said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)