Business in Brief

Uralkali Cuts Potash Prices

Uralkali said the price of potash for Russian farmers would not exceed 3,700 rubles ($135.3) per metric ton in the first half of 2009 after the government urged producers to reduce costs.

The price "effectively equates to production expenses," the company said Monday.

Uralkali sells about 600,000 tons of potash, or one-tenth of its output, domestically. Farmers buy about 10,000 tons, while EuroChem and PhosAgro purchase 180,000 tons, according to Troika Dialog. (Bloomberg)

RusAl Delays Payment

United Company RusAl agreed to delay a $700 million payment to shareholder Mikhail Prokhorov.

RusAl will transfer the money in two installments, on Dec. 1 and Feb. 1, instead of by an earlier deadline of Nov. 15, RusAl spokeswoman Vera Kurochkina said Monday.

The funds are part of the payment for a 25 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel, sold by Prokhorov in April. (Bloomberg)

MMK Sees Ouput Drop

Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works said October steel output dropped 31 percent as the global financial crisis eroded demand.

Magnitogorsk produced 794,400 metric tons of steel in October compared with 1.14 million in September, the steelmaker said Monday.

Output of steel products declined 30 percent to 699,000 tons in October, Magnitogorsk said. (Bloomberg)

OGK-3 Awards Contract

OGK-3, the power generator controlled by Norilsk Nickel, awarded a 21 billion ruble ($765 million) contract to build two coal-fired units to Tekhnopromexport.

The Moscow-based engineering company will construct the 225-megawatt units at the Cherepetskaya GRES power plant in the Tula region, OGK-3 said Monday. (Bloomberg)

IKEA to Speed Up Growth

IKEA will accelerate an expansion in Russia, Per Kaufmann, head of Russian business, said, Dagens Industri newspaper reported Monday.

IKEA wants to have stores in every city with at least half a million people and will build more than 30 outlets in the country, it said. (Bloomberg)

RZD to Borrow $547M

Russian Railways is selling 15 billion rubles ($547 million) of bonds with a 13.5 percent coupon.

The five-year notes will give bondholders the option of demanding repayment after 18 months, the firm said Monday. (Bloomberg)

Quotas to Be Cut

The country plans to cut 2009 import quotas on poultry by 300,000 tons and pork by 200,000 tons, the agriculture minister said Monday.

"We can replace these quantities with our own production," Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said Monday. (Reuters)

For the Record

One of the country's top performing hedge funds, Pharos Financial Group, has opened an office in the Dubai International Financial Center to attract Gulf investors to its funds, Pharos said Monday. (Reuters)

Alrosa said it may reduce sales of uncut gems by as much as 40 percent to stop prices declining. (Bloomberg)