Business in Brief

RusAl Wants Metals Reserve

United Company RusAl called on the government to create a metals reserve to support the industry through the financial crisis.

A document presented at parliamentary hearings at the Duma lower chamber this week said such a move would "restore fair pricing," cut the risks of a metals glut and allow the state to reduce its exposure to equity investment risks.

RusAl did not specify the volume of metals purchases it wanted the government to make. (Reuters)

YTD Gas Output Rose 2.5%

The country's gas output in the first 11 months of 2008 rose 2.5 percent from a year earlier, the Energy Ministry said, Interfax reported.

Gas production rose to 606.9 billion cubic meters in the period through November. Gazprom accounted for 83 percent of the total, or 502.9 billion cubic meters, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)

OGK-1's 28% Profit Rise

OGK-1 said profit rose 28 percent in the first nine months of the year on lower taxes.

Net income gained to 1.41 billion rubles ($50 million) from 1.11 billion rubles a year earlier, the company said Tuesday. Sales rose 18 percent to 38.4 billion rubles. (Bloomberg)

WBD Seeks $179M Loan

Wimm-Bill-Dann is seeking 5 billion rubles ($179 million) worth of loans that would mature in at least 12 months as local retailers delay payments for supplies.

The firm is in talks about possible loans, spokeswoman Ella Chernetskaya said Tuesday. Retail chains are delaying payments by as much as 120 days, she added. (Bloomberg)

Coca-Cola Delays Plant

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling postponed the opening of its plant in Russia, citing documentation delays.

Construction of the factory, in the southern region of Rostov, is planned to be completed in April or May next year, said Yana Guskova, spokeswoman for the company's Russian unit. The firm had planned to complete the plant at the end of this year, she added. (Bloomberg)

Car-Parts Plant for St. Pete

Seven Hyundai Motor suppliers signed an agreement with the municipal government of St. Petersburg to build a $200 million car-parts plant.

The group of companies will create a manufacturing park in St. Petersburg's Kamenka industrial zone to supply Hyundai's assembly plant, the local government said Tuesday. The planned components venture is expected to become operational by the second half of 2010. (Bloomberg)

X5 to Halt Salary Increases

X5 Retail Group will halt salary increases for its office staff to help reduce costs as consumer spending slows.

X5 will not raise salaries of "management and administrative personnel," Anna Kareva, investor relations head at X5, said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

China's Great Wall Motor signed an agreement with its Russian distributor Irito to create an auto-assembly plant near Moscow, Irito spokesman Andrei Matveyev said, Vedomosti reported. (Bloomberg)

The partial sale of a real estate fund helped health and drugstore chain 36,6 return to profitability in the third quarter of 2008, the company said in an earnings report on Tuesday. (Reuters)