Business in Brief

TGK-9 Says Debt Is Settled



TGK-9, controlled by Viktor Vekselberg's Integrated Energy Systems, has paid off its 617 million ruble ($17.3 million) debt to the gas provider Itera, Andrei Makarov, the company's executive vice president, said Tuesday

Itera, an independent gas producer and trader, had said it would cut the gas supplies to TGK-9 by 50 percent on Feb. 15 unless the utility pays its debt to the electricity sales company Uralsevergaz, an affiliate of Itera in the Sverdlovsk region, Kommersant reported Tuesday. (MT)




Surplus Hits 13.9% of GDP



The government's budget surplus reached 13.9 percent of gross domestic product in January, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday, citing preliminary figures.

The surplus stood at 359.8 billion rubles ($10.1 billion). Revenue reached 771.6 billion rubles, or 7.1 percent of the amount the government planned for 2009, while spending was 411.75 billion rubles, or 4.5 percent of planned expenditures. (Bloomberg)




Two Banks Lose Licenses



The Central Bank has revoked the licenses of two small banks, Uraikombank and Kauri Bank, citing lack of liquidity and inability to execute settlements.

Uraikombank and Kauri Bank had also violated Russia's banking regulations, the Central Bank said Tuesday.

Depositors of the two banks will have to apply to the Deposit Insurance Agency to get their money back. (Reuters)




Bank to Sell $307M Bond



Petrocommerce Bank plans to sell 11 billion rubles ($307 million) of bonds this year, first vice president Viktor Zhidkov said Tuesday, Interfax reported.

The bonds will be sold in three parts and the sale will happen no earlier than autumn. (Bloomberg)




IES to Cut Gas and Coal Use



Integrated Energy Systems, Viktor Vekselberg's power utility, plans to burn more coal and less natural gas this year to save money, Eduard Smelov, executive vice president for trading, said Tuesday.

The utility plans to reduce the share of gas in total fuel consumption to 83 percent from 92 percent last year, Smelov said. The company will double purchases of coal from Russia's Kemerovo region, he said. (Bloomberg)




Odessa Airport Overhaul



Novaport, a regional-airport investment company, will spend $250 million to overhaul and operate Ukraine's second-biggest airport after winning a competition Monday, it said Tuesday.

The airport in Odessa near the Black Sea coast may serve as a regional hub and a transit point for shipments from Europe to Central Asia, the company said. (Bloomberg)




Plan for Gazprom Sales



Gazprom will be allowed to sell as much as 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas on Russia's open market this year, double last year's volumes, under a proposal made by the Energy Ministry, the ministry said Tuesday.

Gazprom has been allowed to trade as much as 5 billion cubic meters of gas a year in experimental trading since 2006. (Bloomberg)




Cold Delays Coal Shipment



Russian Railways said more than 100 trains carrying as much as 360,000 tons of coal are waiting to be unloaded at ports in the Far East of the country because of cold weather and delayed ships, the operator said in a statement Tuesday.

Warehouses at the Vostochny port on the Sea of Japan are nearly full, and there are also bottlenecks at the Posiet port in the same region and Temryk on the Azov sea. (Bloomberg)




MTS Buys Telefon.ru



Mobile TeleSystems said it bought handset chain Telefon.ru for $60 million to expand its retail network and gain more customers.

Mobile TeleSystems will pay the sellers an additional $25 million within 18 months if the chain's results meet targets, MTS said Tuesday. Telefon.ru had 512 outlets in 180 Russian cities as of Jan. 1. (Bloomberg)




Gas Contracts Top $1Tln



Gazprom has signed contracts worth more than $1 trillion for European supplies, based on oil prices of $65 a barrel, deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said Tuesday.

Gazprom's share of the European market could rise to 33 percent in 2020 from 26 percent. (Bloomberg)




Zubkov Talks Bread Prices



The retail price for a kilogram of bread in Russia should not exceed 25 rubles (70 cents), First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said, RIA-Novosti reported.

Consumers in Russia pay from as little as 20 rubles a kilogram for bread in the southern region of Ingushetia to 77 rubles on the Pacific island of Sakhalin, he said. (Bloomberg)




Poland Could Sign Gas Deal



Poland and Russia could sign a new intergovernmental gas supply deal by the end of March that would allow restoration of full deliveries, Economy Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak said Tuesday.

Poland has not been receiving all of its contracted gas supplies from Russia after Ukrainian intermediary, RosUkrEnergo, ceased deliveries following the gas dispute between Moscow and Kiev last month. (Reuters)




New Firms on Lombard List



Russia will add shares and bonds of its strategic enterprises to a list of securities used by lenders as collateral to receive loans from the Central Bank, it said Monday.

The list of 295 strategic companies includes the nation's biggest oil producer Rosneft and natural gas producer Gazprom. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



VTB Group has increased its loan portfolio to the real economy by 11 percent since the start of the year, CEO Andrei Kostin said, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

Svyazinvest chose Ivan Rodionov to replace Leonid Reiman as board chairman while electing Yevgeny Yurchenko as its chief executive officer, the company said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

VimpelCom plans to sell 30 billion rubles ($837 million) of bonds that will mature in five years, the mobile-telephone company said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)