Business in Brief

Putin Approves Pipeline



Prime Minister Vladimir Putin approved an expansion of the Baltic Pipeline System to reduce the country's dependency on links through countries such as Belarus for crude exports.

Putin signed an order for pipeline operator Transneft to build the BTS-2 link from Unecha near the Belarussian border to Ust-Luga on the Baltic Sea, the Energy Ministry said Monday. (Bloomberg)




X5 Reports $15M Loss



X5 Retail Group on Monday reported a net loss of $14.7 million for the third quarter of 2008 as it forecast a slowdown in sales growth and reined in capital spending.

X5 said it expected sales to grow by more than 25 percent in 2009 after growth of 40 percent this year and capital expenditures of up to $500 million compared with about $1 billion earmarked for 2008. (Reuters)




Dudley Officially Resigns



Robert Dudley resigned as CEO of TNK-BP after two groups of shareholders agreed to remove him to end a dispute over management.

Chief Operating Officer Tim Summers was named acting CEO, the company said Monday. (Bloomberg)




Sitronics Gets $230M Loan



Sitronics will get $230 million from Vneshekonombank to pay off foreign creditors.

Sitronics will use part of the loan to repay $200 million of debt to Dresdner Bank, it said Monday. (Bloomberg)




$78Bln in Requests to VEB



Vneshekonombank received requests for loans of $78 billion from banks and companies to refinance foreign debt, CEO Vladimir Dmitriyev said, Interfax reported.

Banks requested $28 billion and companies $50 billion, he said Monday.

VEB's supervisory board approved a $950 million loan request from VTB Group, Russia's second-biggest bank, and another for 11.9 billion rubles ($425 million) from Alfa Bank, the country's biggest nonstate bank, he said. (Bloomberg)




RZD Cuts Tariffs



Russian Railways cut tariffs for cars that transport fertilizers and construction materials by 30 percent.

"Fertilizer output in the country is being cut and many of the plants are on the verge of being closed," Salman Babayev, CEO of Russian Railways' freight unit, said Monday. "Given the tough market conditions, we decided to cut tariffs for fertilizer cars." (Bloomberg)




RusAl Withdraws Suit



RusAl said Monday that it had withdrawn a suit it had filed against Norilsk protesting its decision to hold a share buyback in a sign of an accord reached between feuding shareholders. (MT)




For the Record



Alfa Bank bought a controlling stake in lender Severnaya Kazna to support regional banks amid the financial crisis. (Bloomberg)

Ford Motor will raise prices in Russia by an average of 5 percent on all cars imported to or produced in Russia starting on Jan. 1, the firm said Monday. (Bloomberg)

Novolipetsk Steel asked the government for a 32 billion ruble ($1.1 billion) loan to help build a steel mini-mill. (Bloomberg)