Business in Brief

Ukraine to Pay Part of Bill



Naftogaz Ukrainy raised almost all the money it needs to pay for its September gas imports to a Gazprom subsidiary, Interfax reported Saturday.

Naftogaz has already paid $100 million out of a total of $380 million that it has agreed to pay by Dec. 1 to RosUkrEnergo, Interfax said.

Naftogaz agreed last week to pay the bill for September and part of October by Monday in order to resume talks with Gazprom on future gas supplies. (MT)




$230M Loan for Sitronics



Sitronics will receive $230 million from state lender VEB to refinance its foreign debt, a source close to the high-technology firm's parent, conglomerate Sistema, said Thursday.

A $125 million loan from Germany's Dresdner Bank AG is due on Thursday. Sitronics owes another $75 million to Dresdner, which comes due in March next year, and $30 million to ABN Amro. (Reuters)




Ministry Sees Oil at $50



The average price of Russian oil will hover at about $50 a barrel next year, nearly half a previous 2009 estimate for the country's main cash earner, Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach said Sunday.

"In line with our basic scenario, the average price of Urals oil in 2009 will be $50 per barrel, in 2010 $55 per barrel and in 2011 $60 per barrel," he told an economic forum in Vienna, RIA-Novosti reported. (Reuters)




Markets Closed for Holidays



Russian markets will be closed for the first 10 days of next year under the national holiday schedule approved by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Putin made Sunday, Jan. 11, the first working day of 2009, allowing for a 10-day break that includes New Year's Day and Russian Orthodox Christmas, according to a decree signed yesterday and posted on the government's web site. (Bloomberg)




RZD Announces Staff Cuts



Russian Railways plans to cut 3 percent of staff, shorten the working week and cancel bonuses to save money, RIA-Novosti reported.

The firm will use a "natural outflow" of people as they reach retirement age or quit and will limit new hires, vice president Vadim Morozov said.

"This is not the time to receive bonuses even for a job well done," Morozov said. (Bloomberg)




Norilsk Reports Output



Norilsk Nickel said Friday that its nickel output for the first nine months of 2008 was 218,474 tons, broadly in line with about 219,000 in the same period last year.

Palladium output in January-September 2008 was 2.124 million ounces, Norilsk said in a statement without providing a comparison to last year's figures.

Norilsk said the figures included output at its Polar and Kola divisions in Russia as well as at its units in Finland, Australia, Botswana and South Africa, but not its U.S. unit Stillwater Mining. (Reuters)




Kazakh Means Business



Chevron, which is developing Kazakhstan's biggest oil deposit, said Friday that it had received a note from the authorities accusing it of neglecting Kazakh as a business language.

The accusation is part of a broader trend in the nation to revive Kazakh as a symbol of the country's independence.

Chevron said it disagreed with the assertion. (Reuters)