Business in Brief

Budget Sent to Duma



The Cabinet completed revising this year's budget, drastically reducing projected revenues in the face of the global economic crisis, and sent it to the State Duma on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed a decree submitting the budget, the Cabinet's press service said in a statement, which did not name any figures. Putin last month ordered the government to revisit the budget to assume a $41 barrel of oil, far off the current estimate of $95 per barrel of Urals. (MT)




Coca-Cola to Up Investment



Coca-Cola plans to increase its investment in Russia from $1.8 billion to $3 billion over the next two years, Zoran Vucinic, head of Coca-Cola in Russia, said at a conference Wednesday.

Coca-Cola does not plan to stop expansion projects and will open a plant in Rostov later this year. (MT)




ATM Cards Still Rare



As few as 37 percent of Russians have an ATM card, a new Levada Center poll out on Wednesday showed, up from 5 percent in 2001.

Half of those polled said they did not have and would not get an ATM card.

One-third of respondents said they did not have a bank account. The Levada Center polled 1,600 people in 46 regions at the end of January. (MT)




Nuclear Deals With India



A unit of Atomenergoprom signed more than $700 million in deals Wednesday to supply India's nuclear reactors with fuel pellets, the state-owned nuclear company said in a statement.

Atomenergoprom said its nuclear fuel unit, TVEL, and Indian nuclear officials signed the deals in Mumbai on Wednesday. (Reuters)




Severstal Output Down 29%



Severstal said fourth-quarter crude steel production fell 29 percent from a year before and weaker demand pushed prices lower, it said Wednesday.

Crude steel output was 3.14 million tons, down from 4.44 million. It declined 48 percent from the prior quarter, while prices fell 10 percent to 26 percent in the same period depending on the type of product. (Bloomberg)




Deripaska Sees $6,000 Van



Oleg Deripaska said Wednesday that his GAZ carmaker plans to start production of a new van that should cost less than $6,000 as the state boosts support for the domestic car industry.

GAZ is preparing to roll out a light commercial vehicle model that "will be the most competitive product on the market in 18 months." (Bloomberg)




Share Sale to Employees



Rosgosstrakh plans to raise funds by selling shares to employees after the insurer amassed debts of 12.3 billion rubles ($344 million), CEO Danil Khachaturov said, Kommersant reported.

Rosgosstrakh is seeking to raise as much as 35 billion rubles by selling a stake of about 10 percent. (Bloomberg)




Luzhkov vs. Oligarchs



Mayor Yury Luzhkov said the government should seize resource assets sold to the so-called oligarchs in the 1990s and sell them in open tenders when the global financial crisis subsides, Kommersant reported Wednesday.

Members of the United Russia party's Moscow division applauded Luzhkov after he excoriated owners of oil and metals producers for buying football clubs and yachts and moving billions of dollars into foreign bank accounts. (Bloomberg)




Banks Warned on Funds



Prosecutors warned 70 banks against misusing bailout funds provided by the government to stimulate lending, Kommersant reported Wednesday, citing unidentified regulators.

The Central Bank has not "recently" intervened on the foreign currency market, Chairman Sergei Ignatyev said Wednesday, RIA-Novosti reported. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



KamAZ's board of directors has approved plans to sell 10 billion rubles ($284 million) of five-year bonds, Interfax reported, citing a source with knowledge of the matter. (Bloomberg)

Anatoly Ballo, deputy chairman of Vneshekonombank, has been elected board chairman of Hungarian air carrier Malev, the bank said Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

Transneft said its board approved the company's investment program to 2020 as Russia seeks to diversify its export links, Transneft said Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

Russia is introducing a 5 percent import duty on soybean meal for nine months. (Bloomberg)