Business in Brief

Astana Plans $21Bln Bailout



ASTANA, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan plans to inject $21 billion into its economy to counter the impact of the global financial crisis and expects that growth will be a lot slower next year, Prime Minister Karim Masimov said Thursday.

"This year, the total amount we prepare to inject is about $21 billion," Masimov said in an interview.

The government had previously said it would pump $15 billion into its $100 billion economy. (Reuters)




New York Court Fines Alfa



Telenor, a Nordic phone company, said Thursday that a federal court in New York fined Alfa Group companies for failing to obey a ruling last year.

The court granted Telenor's motion to hold Altimo, Alpren, Hardlake and Storm in contempt and impose escalating fines, it said Thursday. (Bloomberg)




S&P Predicts More Pain



Standard & Poor's ratings agency said Thursday that the economy and banking sector will suffer for up to two more years and the share of problem debt may rise to at least 10 percent over the next 12 months.

"I do not think we have hit the bottom. … The next 12 months will be much harder [for the credit market] than the previous ones," S&P analyst Yekaterina Trofimova said. (Reuters)




New Citi Russia Chief



Citigroup has appointed Zdenek Turek as president of the bank's Russian unit and the head of the company's operations in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, it said Thursday, Prime-Tass reported.

He is replacing Mark Robinson, who was appointed head of the bank's operations in South Asia. (MT)




Subway Plans Expansion



The Russian franchisee for Subway, the largest U.S. restaurateur by outlets, aims to have 100 local stores by the end of 2009, said Gennady Kochetkov, vice president for Subway Russia, Interfax reported.

Subway plans to add 13 restaurants in the country this year, raising its local total to 61, he said. (Bloomberg)




LUKoil to Buy Repsol Stake



Sacyr Vallehermoso jumped the most in two years in Madrid trading on reports that the builder will sell its 20 percent stake in Repsol to LUKoil.

LUKoil may buy a further 9.9 percent of Repsol shares on the open market, EFE said Wednesday, citing unidentified people. (Bloomberg)




Acron Sets Price Limit



Acron, a producer of nitrogen-based fertilizer, said it was setting a price cap for sales to Russian farmers.

The limit until the end of the year has been established at 3,122 rubles ($113) per ton of ammonium nitrate, rising to 5,000 rubles a ton in the first half of next year, it said Thursday. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



Dixy Group said sales rose 34 percent in the first 10 months of the year as new stores opened and higher incomes fueled consumer spending. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom plans to cut its output forecast for 2008 by about 1.5 percent, from the previously planned 561 billion cubic meters, said Alexander Kalinkin, deputy head of natural gas, condensate and oil production. (Bloomberg)