Business in Brief

Manufacturing Shrinks

Russian manufacturing shrank at the fastest rate in 11 years in October, a gauge of industrial production showed.

VTB Bank Europe's Purchasing Managers' Index fell for the third consecutive month to 46.4 from 49.8 in September, the bank said Tuesday. A figure above 50 indicates growth, while one below 50 indicates a contraction. The bank surveyed 300 purchasing executives.

Russian manufacturers cut staff at the fastest rate in almost a decade in October on weakening demand and in an attempt to reduce costs, VTB also said. (Bloomberg)

Grid Company to Sell Shares

The Federal Grid Company plans to sell 146.5 billion new shares in January to fund electricity lines and transmission plants.

The state-controlled utility's board voted for the sale Friday, with cash and assets accepted as payment, the company said Saturday. The sale is open to the public and will increase the number of the Federal Grid's common shares by about 13 percent. (Bloomberg)

Serbia Asks for Extension

Serbia asked Russia on Friday for an extra month of talks to fine-tune a bilateral energy pact, which gives Russia control over Serbia's oil and gas market in exchange for a section of the South Stream gas pipeline.

On Sept. 22, Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu gave Belgrade a 60-day deadline to fine-tune technical aspects of the deal and said Russia would not accept any higher price for NIS. (Reuters)

Russia Eyes Iran Gas Swaps

Russia is eyeing gas swaps with Iran, the Iran's Oil Ministry said Saturday.

After the meeting, Iran said there was consensus to set up a gas grouping like the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Russia referred to a "big gas troika." Swaps can involve a physical exchange of gas or a financial transaction. (Reuters)

Vinci in Highway Talks

Vinci and N-Trans are in exclusive talks with the government to build and run the first leg of a 636-kilometer Moscow-St. Petersburg highway, La Tribune said Saturday.

The 44-kilometer section is expected to cost 1.8 billion euros ($2.3 billion), with five bridges, six viaducts and two five-lane segments, and will receive a 640 million euro subsidy from the state under a public-private partnership, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

New Rules on Selling Rubles

The country will tighten restrictions that seek to prevent banks using emergency state loans to sell rubles, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said.

The additional measures may be introduced as early as next week, he said.

Russia will also raise total lending available for small and medium-sized business to 30 billion rubles ($1.1 billion), Shuvalov said. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said the country's oil and gas companies need credit lines totaling $100 billion for investment programs endangered by the financial crisis, Vedomosti reported. (Bloomberg)

The country may impose prohibitive import duties on cars older than five years and raise levies on new vehicles at a meeting on foreign trade scheduled for Nov. 7, Vedomosti said. (Bloomberg)