Business in Brief

National Project Head Quits



Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has relieved of his duties Boris Kovalchuk, head of the government's national projects department and the son of billionaire Yury Kovalchuk, after he requested to step down, the government said Tuesday.

Kovalchuk, 31, was appointed to then-Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's office in 2006 to head work on the multibillion-dollar national projects. His father, Yury, is a close acquaintance of Putin and chairman of Bank Rossiya.

A source in the office of Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, who oversees the national projects, said Kovalchuk played a relatively minor role because much of the work on the four projects was done by the relevant government departments, Vedomosti reported on its web site. (MT)




State Corporation Weighed



The government is considering the creation of a new state corporation called the Russian Financial Agency, which would monitor state funds including the National Welfare Fund, Vedomosti reported Tuesday.

The report said the planned corporation, which could manage as much as 7 trillion rubles ($225 billion) if it included the Reserve and Pension funds and the country's debt, was included Monday in the government's work plan for the first half of 2009. (MT)




VTB Sues PIK Over Loan



VTB Group sued property developer PIK Group for 2.7 billion rubles ($87 million) for an overdue loan.

The state-owned bank filed the suit against PIK in the Moscow Arbitration Court after the developer "failed to fulfill its obligations," VTB said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)




Fish Restriction Lifted



Russia lifted restrictions on imports of fish from Scotland, the main contributor to British fish trade worth more than ?42 million ($61.6 million) a year.

The curbs were imposed in April, cutting off trade for about 10 Scottish processors, the Scottish government said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)




MMK Gets $640M in Loans



Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works said Tuesday that it agreed to get 20 billion rubles ($640 million) of credit from Sberbank and VTB Group.

Sberbank will provide two lines of credit, for 12 billion rubles and 4 billion rubles, and VTB agreed to lend 4 billion rubles for one year, the steelmaker said. (Bloomberg)




Mosenergo to Sell Off Assets



Mosenergo plans to sell its Moscow headquarters and a theater near the Kremlin to help fund upgrades and expansion this year after borrowing costs rose.

Mosenergo aims to find a buyer for 36,000 square meters of property by July, spokesman Vitaly Koskovetsky said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



Mechel paid shareholders 11 billion rubles ($350 million), or 26.38 rubles a share, in dividends for 2007. (Bloomberg)

VTB Group raised its stake in Aeroflot to 10.6 percent from 6.7 percent, it said in a regulatory filing. (Bloomberg)