Business in Brief

Banks Warned to Stay Local



The Central Bank may limit banks' access to refinancing if they lend money to foreign projects, Sergei Shvetsov, the Central Bank's director of financial operations, said Thursday.

"I think that in one way or another foreign central banks give the same recommendation to their national banks. In this respect an element of national egoism appears in each country," he said, Interfax reported. (MT)




Bushehr to Start by Year-End



Russia plans to start up a nuclear reactor at Iran's Bushehr plant by the end of the year, Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko said Thursday.

"The launch is scheduled for this year," he said, adding that this was the original plan laid down in a timetable agreed with Iran. "I plan to be at the Bushehr plant in February." (Reuters)




RWE Won't Ask for Money



German utility RWE will not ask Gazprom for compensation for gas not delivered because of a feud between Russia and Ukraine last month, a senior supply executive said Thursday.

"We currently don't intend to demand compensation of any kind," Stefan Judisch, chief commercial officer of the RWE Supply & Trading unit, told reporters at a workshop at the Essen headquarters. (Reuters)




Bulgaria Talks South Stream



Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov told President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday that his country would begin building the South Stream gas pipeline once it is sure that "the same pipe is being built on the Serbian side," Interfax reported.

Medvedev said at a news conference after their talks that he hoped work on South Stream would start more quickly, Interfax reported. Parvanov reiterated claims for compensation over supply disruptions in January. (MT)




Kazakhs Get New Credit



VEB has agreed to open a $3 billion credit line for up to 10 years to Kazakh state welfare fund Samruk-Kazyna, VEB said on Thursday.

VEB, which was entrusted by the Russian government to dispatch state funds to help Russian companies refinance foreign debt, said it signed a memorandum on understanding with Samruk-Kazyna on Thursday.

"VEB is going to participate in financing foreign trade contracts within the framework of Russian-Kazakh investment projects on Kazakh territory," VEB said. (Reuters)




Yandex Sales Up 80%



Yandex, Russia's most-used search portal, increased sales by 80 percent to $300 million last year, chief executive Arkady Volozh said Thursday at the Troika Dialog investment forum.

Volozh said he couldn't give an outlook for this year, as he was revising the budget every week because of the economic uncertainty. (MT)




Mineral Deposits Reviewed



The government is reviewing a list of mineral deposits that state companies will be allowed to develop without a tender, Darya Vasilevskaya, a deputy department head of the Natural Resources Ministry, said Thursday, Interfax reported.

The list of more than 15 locations, including fields off the Kamchatka Peninsula, will be confirmed "soon," she said.

Another list of more than 1,500 fields that have "federal significance" will be published shortly. (Bloomberg)




Silvinit on Potash Demand



Silvinit said demand for potash and production will probably recover in the second half of the year, the firm said Thursday.

The company is working at 20 percent to 60 percent of capacity after demand slumped in the fourth quarter of last year, it said. (Bloomberg)




Inter's Loan for Sochi Plant



Inter RAO signed an agreement with state-run development bank Vneshekonombank to borrow 3.7 billion rubles ($102 million) to expand a power plant that supplies Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The loan is valid for 10 years, VEB said Thursday. (Bloomberg)




Rosneft's Investment Plan



Rosneft plans to spend about 84 billion rubles ($2.31 billion) on its eastern Siberian Vankor oil field this year, vice president Mars Khasanov said Thursday.

The oil firm plans to have a pipeline from the field to Pur-Pe completed this summer. (Bloomberg)




State Doles Out Cash



Russia's state banks granted financing worth a total of $255 million on Thursday to a retailer, an electricity firm and a top airline as the government steps up efforts to revitalize the real economy.

VTB said it was extending a credit line of 2.5 billion rubles to Aeroflot and increased its credit line to food retailer X5 to 10 billion rubles from 7 billion rubles. (Reuters)




China Buys Urals



About 2 million barrels of Urals crude have been sold to China, the first in recent years, showing an open arbitrage for Western cargoes after OPEC's deep supply cuts narrowed the Brent/Dubai spread, traders said Thursday.

A VLCC of medium-sour Urals was sold to China in January after the front-month Brent/Dubai Exchange of Futures for Swaps fell into a discount for the first-time ever, suggesting Dubai swaps were more expensive than Brent futures, offering opportunities for flows from Europe and West Africa to Asia. (Reuters)




Gazprom Gets Satellites



Gazprom ordered two satellites from Thales, Europe's largest defense-electronics company, as it seeks to expand its global reach.

Thales will design, build and deliver the Yamal-401 and Yamal-402 satellites for a 2012 launch date, according to an agreement signed by Thales and Gazprom Space Systems on Thursday. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



TNK-BP plans to appoint a new chief executive officer by June 1, shareholder German Khan said, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

Aeroflot said it would bid for Czech Airlines with a local partner to comply with a European Union prohibition on companies from nonmember states getting a controlling stake. (Bloomberg)