Business in Brief

Surgut to Spend $15Bln



Surgutneftegaz plans to spend as much as 15 billion rubles ($548 million) a year exploring for oil and gas, CEO Vladimir Bogdanov said, Interfax reported. The crude producer also intends to spend at least 12 billion rubles a year on increasing reserves, Bogdanov said Monday.

Bogdanov also proposed that the government grant five-year tax holidays for all new oil fields. (Bloomberg)




S7 Still in Talks for Austrian



Austrian Airlines' sale mandate was extended to the end of the year, and the government said it was prepared to assume as much as 500 million euros ($625 million) of the carrier's debt.

Lufthansa is the only bidder that filed a binding offer by an Oct. 21 deadline. Air France-KLM Group and S7 did not submit bids, though the assets agency is still in talks with S7. (Bloomberg)




RusHydro to Offer Shares



Hydroelectricity giant RusHydro may seek to raise 16 billion rubles ($591.5 million) through a public share offering next year, it said Monday.

The board of directors will propose the new offering to shareholders at their extraordinary general meeting on Nov. 17, the statement said. (Reuters)




Grocers Look to State Banks



Ten food retailers have asked state banks for a total of 50 billion rubles ($1.85 billion) in loans to help survive the global financial crisis, industry sources said Monday.

The companies include all four listed Russian retailers -- X5 Retail Group, Magnit, Dixy and Sedmoi Kontinent -- as well as smaller rivals Lenta, Kopeika, O'key, Holiday, Mosmart and Victoria. (Reuters)




PwC Ruling Overturned



The Moscow District Federal Arbitration Court on Friday overturned an appellate court ruling that PricewaterhouseCoopers was in breach of contract in its 2000 to 2004 audits of bankrupt oil firm Yukos.

Investigators had said the auditor illegally reduced the oil firm's tax liability in 2002 by falsely reporting the hiring of non-Russian employees. (MT)




Amtel May Sell Assets



Tire maker Amtel-Vredestein said Monday that it might sell its assets or the company after being unable to meet its debt obligations.

The firm has stopped production at its plants in Kirov and Voronezh because of the lack of funds, it said in an e-mailed statement Monday. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



The government may guarantee loans taken out by energy and mining companies if they put up their shares as collateral, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Yury Trutnev said Monday, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

Rosneft said its vice president for finance and investments, Peter O'Brien, increased his stake in the company to 0.0024 percent, compared with a previous 0.00047 percent. (Bloomberg)

Carmaker GAZ may reduce output by 30 percent and lay off 20 percent of its work force, CEO Sergei Zanozin said, Kommersant reported. (Bloomberg)

Alexander Lebedev's National Reserve Corporation wants to bid for Ukraine's Prominvestbank, said Vyacheslav Yutkin, chief executive of Sberbank in Ukraine, Kommersant-Ukraine reported Monday. (Bloomberg)