Business in Brief

Putin Calls for Housing

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for funds in the state-run Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending to be used to help banks and homebuyers, Interfax said Tuesday.

The funds should support those homebuyers who bought stakes in residential buildings under construction and who might now face difficulties, he said. Putin also said the agency, also known as AIZhK, may allocate 50 billion rubles ($1.92 billion) to local government authorities to provide new housing to people who live in dangerous buildings. (Bloomberg, MT)

OGK-3 Spends $612M

OGK-3, a power generator controlled by Norilsk Nickel, agreed to pay billionaire Vladimir Potanin $612 million for stakes in three companies. The board of OGK-3 "approved strategic purchases" Oct. 10 to create a "diversified energy holding," it said Monday.

OGK-3 agreed to pay $576 million to Jarford Enterprises for 25 percent minus one share in Rusia Petroleum, which holds a license to the Kovykta gas field. OGK-3 will also buy about 35 percent of Plug Power from Potanin's Interros and Norilsk for $33 million and pay $3.2 million to Interros for T-Invest, the company said. (Bloomberg)

NLMK on Production Plans

Novolipetsk Steel, also known as NLMK, said Tuesday that it was considering a cut in production at its Lipetsk steel mill next month as the global credit squeeze hurts demand.

"We are considering it, but we don't have final figures," said Anton Bazulev, head of investor relations. (Bloomberg)

Crisis May Add Monopolies

Government measures adopted in the wake of the financial crisis may cause a growth in monopolies, especially in the banking and industrial sectors, Igor Artemyev, head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta published Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, there are always more monopolies after a crisis," he said. "This is partly a result of government intervention in the economy and government money flowing through the banking and heavy industry sectors." (MT)

Raspadskaya Output Down

Coking coal producer Raspadskaya said Tuesday that output in the first nine months declined 22 percent.

The company mined 8.02 million tons of raw coal, compared with 10.3 million tons the previous year, Raspadskaya said. Sales of washed coal declined 5 percent to 6.23 million tons, while raw coal dropped 83 percent to 243,000 tons. (Bloomberg)

Ilim Facing Slowdown

Pulp producer Ilim Group faces falling prices in China and a possible slowdown at home, chairman Zakhar Smushkin said in an interview.

A sustained financial crisis in Russia may force the company to scale back its $2.1 billion plan to expand in the domestic and Chinese markets, Smushkin said Friday. (Bloomberg)

Proceedings in Kozlov Case

Prosecutors on Tuesday asked a jury to find banker Alexei Frenkel guilty in ordering the contract killing of Central Bank First Deputy Chairman Andrei Kozlov, Interfax reported Tuesday.

On trial with Frenkel are co-defendants Lian Askervoi and Boris Shafrai, who are accused of carrying out the killing in September 2006. The defense will have a chance to address the jury Wednesday. (MT)