Business in Brief

VTB to Sell MBSs

VTB-24, VTB Group's retail banking arm, is planning to issue 14 billion rubles ($443.7 million) worth of mortgage-backed securities in the first quarter of 2009, Interfax cited a source familiar with the bank's plans as saying.

In 2007, the bank signed an agreement with UniCredit and Deutsche Bank on a securitization program.

In December, the Agency for Mortgage Housing Credit guaranteed securitized mortgages. (MT)

IES Ends Evraz Contract

Integrated Energy Systems said it ended a supply contract with a unit of steelmaker Evraz Group because of nonpayment.

Metallenergofinance delayed payments of more than 538 million rubles ($17 million) as of Dec. 31, IES said Thursday. (Bloomberg)

Government's Metals Plans

The government may gain stakes in Norilsk Nickel, Metalloinvest and United Company RusAl by converting debt into shares, Vedomosti said, citing three unidentified people familiar with the matter.

If the three metals producers were to merge, the state might acquire a holding in the combined business through a conversion into stock of debt owed to government banks by the companies' owners, it said. (Bloomberg)

Brewers See Stagnant Q4

Carlsberg beer sales in Russia were flat during the fourth quarter, and it did not experience the same weakness as peer SABMiller, the Danish brewer's chief executive said on Thursday.

SABMiller's volumes fell 22 percent in the period, mostly because of destocking, while Carlsberg's sales were flat, CEO Jorgen Rasmussen said. (Reuters)

RusAl Venture's Output Cut

United Company RusAl and Norsk Hydro ASA's alumina joint venture will cut output by 50 percent as aluminum producers use less of the material.

Alumina Partners of Jamaica, also known as Alpart, will lower production from 1.65 million tons a year as of Thursday, Norsk Hydro said. It will also cut about 250 jobs. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom, Shell in Talks

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller discussed expanding cooperation in the production of natural gas and liquefied natural gas with his counterpart from Royal Dutch Shell, Jeroen van der Veer.

The two men also discussed working on deposits overseas during a meeting at Gazprom's office Thursday, the firm said in a statement. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

Flughafen Wien, the operator of Vienna International Airport, plans to submit a bid for Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg, CEO Herbert Kaufmann said, the Austrian Press Agency reported. (Bloomberg)

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said the government will prepare amendments to the budget next month, RIA-Novosti reported. (Bloomberg)

Novolipetsk Steel and Duferco Group will close a jointly held steel rolling plant in Belgium for three weeks because of weak demand. (Bloomberg)