Business in Brief

VEB to Loan Out $6.3Bln



Vneshekonombank may provide the country's commercial lenders with 225 billion rubles ($6.3 billion) in subordinated loans, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, Interfax reported.

Thirty-eight applications for subordinated loans totaling 70 billion rubles had been received as of Thursday, Putin told a government meeting. Three loans totaling 17.1 billion rubles have already been approved, he said. Sberbank has already received 500 billion rubles in subordinated loans, VTB Group 200 billion rubles and Rosselkhozbank 25 billion rubles, Putin said, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)




Sberbank's Loan to Kopeika



Sberbank agreed to loan retailer Kopeika-Moskva 4 billion rubles ($111 million) for a three-year period, the bank said Tuesday.

They also agreed on a strategic partnership in which Sberbank would service Kopeika's cash flow.

Kopeika-Moskva is owned by Trading House Kopeika, which had been in talks with its larger rival X5 Retail Group over a possible merger. (MT)




Inter RAO's Investments



Inter RAO will spend 18 billion rubles ($497.6 million) in 2009 despite the crisis to roughly double its power-generating capacity in Russia by the end of 2010, its deputy head said on Tuesday.

Inter RAO's investment program for its Russian power stations envisions three new turbine units for this year that are to come on line by the end of 2010 and have a total capacity of 855 megawatts. This includes one in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, which is hosting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. (Reuters)




Norilsk to Sell Power Assets?



Norilsk Nickel formed a working group that includes government officials to consider the sale of power assets, the firm said Tuesday.

Deputy Energy Minister Stanislav Svetlitsky attended a board meeting to talk about the power industry.

The board approved 23 nominations for director, including representatives of RusAl shareholders Victor Vekselberg and Mikhail Prokhorov. (Bloomberg)




Kerimov's Antitrust Request



Billionaire Suleiman Kerimov asked the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service for permission to buy a stake in Polyus Gold, the service said Tuesday.

Kerimov's Nafta-Moskva is seeking "more than 25 percent and less than 50 percent" of Polyus, said Alexei Ulyanov, the service's head of industrial supervision. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom Neft Gets NIS



Gazprom Neft finished a deal to buy 51 percent of Serbia's national oil company Naftna Industrija Srbije as it seeks to expand abroad, the company said.

Gazprom Neft bought the stake in NIS for 400 million euros ($519 million) and will invest at least 500 million euros by 2012. (Bloomberg)




RusAl's Jamaica Unit to Halt



United Company RusAl's Windalco alumina unit in Jamaica will halt its Kirkvine and Ewarton operations from March 31 for a year after demand declined, RusAl said Tuesday.

Windalco will continue to employ about 850 permanent workers and lay off about 250 temporary staff over the next two months. (Bloomberg)




CPC Sees Shipment Record



The Chevron-led Caspian Pipeline Consortium said crude oil shipments through its terminal at Novorossiisk rose 1.4 percent in January to a record, CPC said on its web site Tuesday.

The Yuzhnaya Ozereyka-2 terminal shipped a total of 23.6 million barrels in January compared with 23.28 million barrels in December. That is the highest monthly volume since the pipeline began operating in October 2001. (Bloomberg)




Comstar Has 'Shortlist'



Comstar United Telesystems plans to buy Russian fixed-line telephone and Internet companies this year and next to gain market share in a consolidating industry, CEO Sergei Pridantsev said Tuesday.

Comstar has a "shortlist" of companies that it is interested in acquiring and has about 14 percent of its own shares to use in transactions, Pridantsev said. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



LUKoil announced the launch of the Varandey icebreaker, adding a second ship to help service year-round operations at the Arctic Varandey export terminal. (Bloomberg)

Polyus Gold's board asked the company's management to consider a share buyback worth as much as $250 million, Polyus said Tuesday in a statement. (Bloomberg)