Business in Brief

Sobinbank Purchased



Gazenergoprombank, controlled by Gazprom Group, said Wednesday it would acquire all of Sobinbank.

The Central Bank will support and have "direct participation" in the transaction, which was agreed on Wednesday, Gazenergoprombank said, without giving any more details. Gazenergoprombank, founded in 1996, ranks 40th in Russia in terms of assets, the statement said. (Bloomberg)




Commerical Fishing Curbs



Dozens of commercial fishing firms will not be permitted to fish in Russia's territorial waters in 2009, Andrei Krainy, head of the Federal Fisheries Agency, said Wednesday at a news conference.

"Dozens of companies definitely won't be permitted. I don't know yet whether that number will reach hundreds, but it's possible," he said, Prime-Tass reported. Quotas will not be given to companies who have repeatedly broken resource laws or to firms that do not own their own fleet. (MT)




Potash Exporter's Sinkhole



A fissure in the ground is renewing a threat to potash exports by miner Silvinit, the head of the institute monitoring the situation said Wednesday.

Silvinit, which supplies about 10 percent of world demand for the soil nutrient, is using a replacement rail spur to move potash after its main transport link was severed last year when a mine belonging to a rival collapsed.

The 350-meter sinkhole that resulted has been spreading toward the rail spur. Another replacement line is scheduled for completion by the fourth quarter of 2009. (Reuters)




Iceland Talks to Continue



Russia agreed to continue loan talks with Iceland, but no date has been set for a new round of discussions, Russian and Icelandic officials said in a statement Wednesday after two days of talks.

Iceland initially mentioned a 4 billion euro ($5.45 billion) loan -- around 1 percent of Russia's gold and foreign exchange reserves. (Reuters)




Talks on Feta Venture



Selo Voroshilova, an agricultural company based in Stavropol, and Greek firm Mevgal are in "intensive discussions" on a joint venture that would make up to 600 kilograms of feta cheese per day, Vladimir Kaishev, president of the Pontos International Union of CIS and Baltic Greek Associations, told Interfax on Wednesday.

The venture could be based out of the Russian company's Pyatigorsk Dairy Plant, which is installing equipment to produce the cheese, the report said. (MT)




For the Record



Vitol, Glencore and Gunvor won an annual tender to lift Surgutneftegaz crude in 2009 after offering the highest premiums ever seen in the Urals market, traders said Wednesday. (Reuters)

Alisher Usmanov will not sell any of his stake in Norilsk Nickel as part of the company's $2 billion share buyback, he said Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

Raspadskaya said operations were normal at the Prokhodskaya shaft after a safety stoppage. (Bloomberg)

Automakers including AvtoVAZ and KamAZ will ask VTB and Sberbank for emergency loans, Vedomosti reported Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

Renaissance Capital said Wednesday that it has hired Yury Gruzglin from Deutsche Bank to head its debt product group. (Reuters)