Business in Brief

Moody's Cuts Bank Soyuz

ST. PETERSBURG -- Bank Soyuz's deposit ratings were cut Thursday to B2 from B1 at Moody's Investors Service, which said the bank, controlled by Oleg Deripaska's Basic Element, faced liquidity problems after trading losses and an outflow of customer funds.

Moody's put the bank's ratings on review for possible downgrade because the continued loss of customer accounts amid high capital costs may further reduce business and profit, Moody's analysts wrote in a report. (Bloomberg)

MosPrime Rate Jumping

The average interest rate Russian banks charge to lend money to each other overnight rose for a fourth day to a three-week high.

The MosPrime rate increased to 10.14 percent, from 8.79 percent Wednesday, according to the Central Bank. The last time it was higher was Sept. 17, when it reached a record 11.08 percent. (Bloomberg)

Kazakhs Pass on Nabucco

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan plans to send most of its gas for export to Russia, rather than help fill the proposed Nabucco pipeline to Europe, a deputy energy minister said Thursday.

The majority of Kazakh gas exports will be pumped to neighboring Russia and "some may be sent to China," Lyazzat Kiinov said. "We are restricted in our resources, and we plan and agreed to sell our gas to Russia," he said, adding that up to 2 billion cubic meters a year may go to China. (Bloomberg)

Cherkizovo H1 Profit Rises

Cherkizovo Group, the country's largest meat producer, said Thursday that first-half profit jumped 66 percent after it doubled pork production and meat prices increased.

Net income gained to $36.3 million from $21.9 million a year before, the company said. Sales rose 63 percent to $559.2 million. The company expects to get $31.3 million in government subsidies in the fourth quarter to counter higher costs, it said. (Bloomberg)

Uralsvyazinform on Its Debt

YEKATERINBURG -- Regional telecoms operator Uralsvyazinform will pay off its debts falling due this year but has to cut its 2009 investment plans, its chief financial officer Valery Chernyshev said Thursday.

Standard & Poor's this week revised its outlook on the company to negative because of a weak liquidity profile. Uralsvyazinform has to repay a total of 4 billion rubles this year, including loan obligation and 2 billion rubles of bonds with November put options. (Reuters)

Blavatnik Gets Gibson's Icon

Billionaire Len Blavatnik bought 90 percent of Mel Gibson's Icon Film Distribution company, Kommersant reported Thursday, citing a source close to Blavatnik's Access Industries.

Blavatnik, whose assets include a stake in TNK-BP, will open a subsidiary of Icon in Russia and may also create a local venture between Icon and his Russian media unit, Amedia. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

Iceland may ask for a loan from the IMF in addition to opening formal talks Oct. 14 to borrow as much as 4 billion euros ($5.49 billion) from Russia, Prime Minister Geir Haarde suggested late Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

U.S. farm equipment maker Agco said Thursday that it formed a venture to build diesel engines in Russia and won a $9 million order from its new partner, Concern Tractor Plants. (Bloomberg)