Business in Brief

Copper Miner Halts Projects



YEKATERINBURG -- Russian Copper said Friday that it temporarily shelved separate projects to expand into nickel and build a zinc plant with a rival miner because of the financial crisis.

The company, Russia's third-largest copper producer, said all existing projects would continue to operate and that no production cuts were planned. "We are not closing any projects. We are only putting on hold those projects which are at the blueprint stage," spokesman Alexander Khanin said. (Reuters)




Deposit Protection Raised



The State Duma raised the government's maximum guarantee on bank deposits to 700,000 rubles ($27,000) from 400,000 rubles, Interfax reported Friday.

The Duma also allowed the Central Bank to provided unsecured loans to banks for up to six months, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)




TGK-2 Buyout Dispute



Sintez Group, controlled by Leonid Lebedev, is seeking to back out of an obligation to buy back shares of TGK-2 from minorities, shareholder Prosperity Capital Management said Friday.

The St. Petersburg-based miner bid with German utility RWE for a stake in TGK-2 in March, but RWE said Sept. 19 that it would not buy a stake. Investment fund Prosperity Capital said in a statement that Sintez was seeking to avoid going through with a mandatory buyout offer for minority shareholders.

Sintez could not immediately be reached by phone when called outside of normal working hours. (Bloomberg)




Eurocement Reduces Prices



ST. PETERSBURG -- Eurocement Group, the country's biggest producer of the building material, cut prices around Moscow by as much as 7 percent as the financial crisis hurts construction and threatens plans by foreign producers to expand in the country.

Eurocement, controlled by billionaire Filaret Galchev, lowered the price to 4,200 rubles ($160) a ton as of Thursday, spokeswoman Yelena Rudovskaya said Friday. (Bloomberg)




Polonsky to Be Mirax Chief



Mirax Group chairman Sergei Polonsky said he would head the company after chief executive Alexei Kunitsyn quit over a moratorium on firings until January 2009 amid the global credit crisis.

"I am taking the management of the company into my hands to calm the market and my employees," Polonsky said Friday. Mirax's board had actively discussed job cuts in past weeks. The talks were "incorrectly" reported in local media and caused "groundless panic," Polonsky said. (Bloomberg)




VTB Mum on Renaissance



VTB Group may buy a 40 percent stake in Renaissance Credit, the consumer lending arm of Renaissance Group, injecting $1 billion to maintain liquidity, Kommersant reported Friday.

VTB will have the right to buy the rest of Renaissance Credit by the end of next year, Kommersant reported. Renaissance Group will maintain operational control, the newspaper said. VTB declined to confirm the report, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg, MT)




For the Record



ING Group said Thursday that it was no longer helping property developer RTM Development sell additional shares after the stock fell to a low. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom said its board decided Friday to open a Brazilian office in Rio de Janeiro to help it expand in Latin America. (Bloomberg)