Business in Brief

Oil Duties Seen Down 30%

The country could cut the oil export duty by more than 30 percent from December in response to desperate pleas from oil producers making losses on overseas shipments amid falling oil prices, a government official said Friday.

The Finance Ministry official said the duty was likely to be set at about $192 per ton if it was calculated under the new scheme proposed by the government. (Reuters)

Law on Bourses to Change

The Federal Service for Financial Markets has prepared changes in the law regulating trade, which would see the country's exchanges shut down based on changes in market indexes instead of technical indexes, Interfax reported.

The exchange would be stopped for an hour after changes of 15 percent and until the end of the trading day for changes of 25 percent. (MT)

Belarus' IMF Loan

The International Monetary Fund has made any loan for Belarus conditional, but the demands can be met, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky was quoted as saying Friday.

Minsk is seeking a $2 billion loan in what officials have said was a "precautionary" measure. (Reuters)

Interest in Repsol Denied

Gazprom denied on Friday that it wanted to buy a 20 percent stake in Spanish oil major Repsol, as the stake was too small.

"All the talks connected to this arose because somebody wants to sell this stake, not because somebody wants to buy it," said Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov. (Reuters)

El Al's Petersburg Route

El Al Israel Airlines is resuming flights to St. Petersburg after demand increased following the elimination of visa requirements for travel between Russia and Israel.

Israel and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding last week to allow direct charter flights between Eilat and the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, Israel's Transportation Ministry said Sunday. (Bloomberg)

X5 Gets $255M from VTB

X5 said Friday that it had secured 7 billion rubles ($255 million) in financing from VTB Bank as part of the government's rescue plan for the retail sector.

X5 Retail Group said in a statement that the financing will be provided in the form of a revolving credit line open for 18 months. It gave no other details or terms. (Reuters)

Sistema Seeks $2Bln

Sistema may seek as much as $2 billion of funding from Vneshekonombank and is planning further acquisitions after adjusting to the "first shock" of the global credit crisis.

Sistema is preparing a loan application to VEB to refinance obligations to foreign lenders, chairman Vladimir Yevtushenkov said Thursday. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

The Kazakh Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has given consent for Polyus Gold to bid for a stake in KazakhGold Group and has waived its right to acquire shares in the country's largest gold producer. (Bloomberg)

Egypt may link the Arab Gas Pipeline, which reaches Turkey, with Russian pipelines to help both countries market and sell liquefied natural gas, the Al Masry Al Youm newspaper said Sunday. (Bloomberg)