Business in Brief

EBRD Eyes Consolidation



The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development seeks to participate in Russia's banking mergers and acquisitions, president Thomas Mirow said Friday.

"Where we are invested, we want to be supportive, and as the Russian private banking sector is due to undergo a strong consolidation, we would like to be helpful and try to play a role as consolidators," he said. (Bloomberg)




VTB's Outlook Cut



VTB may have its BBB+ debt rating lowered by Standard & Poor's, the ratings agency said Friday, a day after it said it might cut Russia's sovereign rating.

S&P changed the outlook for VTB and subsidiaries VTB-24 and VTB-Leasing to "negative" from "stable," adding that the ratings "reflect its strong ties with its owner, the Russian Federation." (Bloomberg)




S&P Docks Gazprom



Gazprom had its credit outlook cut to "negative" from "stable" on Friday following a similar downgrade on Russia the day before, Standard and Poor's said. "The current financial turmoil increases the pressure on state reserves and intensifies competition for state financing among government-related and other strategically important entities," the ratings company said.

Gazprom's BBB rating was affirmed. (Bloomberg)




Moody's Cuts NLMK



Moody's Investors Service said Friday that it might lower its "Ba1" debt rating for Novolipetsk Steel, or NLMK, after the company was sued and as demand for steel falls.

Moody's changed the outlook for the company's debt to "negative" from "stable," it said in a statement, citing possible liquidity troubles. (Bloomberg)




Artemyev on Oil, Bread



The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service said Friday that oil producers should cut gasoline prices further and that bakers would be ordered to lower prices for bread to help slow inflation.

Oil companies should cut prices for gasoline and diesel by another 1.5 rubles to 2 rubles per liter, Igor Artemyev, the head of the service, said on state television. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



Gazprom will invest more than 40 billion rubles ($1.5 billion) developing gas fields in the Krasnoyarsk region, the region's governor said Friday, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

Venezuela's PDVSA Industrial and Russia's Volgaburmash will form a joint venture to produce drill bits for oil drilling in the South American country. (Bloomberg)

CARACAS, Venezuela -- A Russian drilling vessel will arrive soon in the Gulf of Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez said Friday. (Reuters)

Food retailer Dixy Group said Friday that it was offering new shares to current investors before a possible sale on an exchange. (Bloomberg)

Transneft's outlook was downgraded to "negative" from "stable," Standard & Poor's Ratings Service said Friday. (Bloomberg)

Alfa Group said Friday that it had no plans to sell any of its stake in VimpelCom and that it would meet credit obligations, rejecting reports that it was under pressure from a margin call. (Reuters)