Business in Brief

Transneft Ups Stake in Novorossiisk Sea Port in Bid for Control

Pipeline firm Transneft said it had bought 10 percent of Novorossiisk Commercial Sea Port, or NCSP, moving to increase its stake as it battles Summa Group for control of NCSP, whose ports handle most of Russia's oil exports.

"We confirm that a 10 percent stake in NCSP was bought in Transneft's interests," company spokesman Igor Dyomin said Thursday, declining to comment further on financial details.

Transneft and Summa Group, which jointly own 50.1 percent of NCSP via Novoport Holding, have been at odds over how it is managed and its capital expenditure deployed.

NCSP operates the ports of Novorossiisk on the Black Sea and Primorsk on the Baltic Sea. Last year, Novorossiisk handled 42.5 million tons of oil and Primorsk 68.15 million tons, together more than half of crude exports from the world's top oil producer.


British Exillon Energy Mulls Sale of Russian Oil Assets

The board of directors of British oil company Exillon Energy will consider selling its Russian production assets to a local bidder by the end of the year, the company announced after a board meeting.

Several major Russian oil companies, including Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, LUKoil and Independent Oil Company, have submitted their bids for one of the last attractive independent oil assets on the Russian market, valued at $800 million by industry experts, Kommersant reported Thursday.

Goldman Sachs International was appointed in September to broker the sale of Exillon Energy's assets in the Timano-Pechera region and Western Siberia. Due diligence is already underway.

Last year, the company pumped 640,000 tons of oil. Its proven and potential oil reserves are estimated at 71 million tons.


Planned $1Bln Brazil Arms Deal Develops

Brazil is pushing ahead with a planned $1 billion purchase of anti-aircraft missile batteries from Russia in a deal that will cement a strategic defense partnership between the two BRICS nations, the Brazilian Defense Ministry said Wednesday.

Brazilian officials said they expect to sign a contract by the middle of 2014 for short- to medium-range surface-to-air Pantsir S1 missile batteries and Igla-S shoulder-held missiles.

In December, Brazil bought 12 Mi-35 attack helicopters — a type dubbed the 'flying tank' — in its first purchase from Russia of military hardware. The country has traditionally obtained its weapons from the U.S. and Europe.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, on a visit to Peru and Brazil to promote weapons sales, also proposed in Brasilia the joint development of a fifth-generation fighter jet, defense officials said.


RusAl Cuts Cost of Aluminum

RusAl, the world's biggest aluminum producer, said its drive to cut output had helped it to rein in costs and it might take further steps to reduce overheads due to weak aluminum prices.

The company, led by tycoon Oleg Deripaska, said Thursday its program to reduce output had allowed it to save $40 per ton in the cash cost of aluminum.

The firm's aluminum costs per ton were $1,911 in the second quarter, while aluminum futures were trading about $1,841 per ton Thursday.

As well as low aluminum prices, RusAl has the expense of servicing its net debt of about $10 billion.

RusAl has cut aluminum production by 324,733 tons, or by 8 percent of 2012 production volume, the company said.


Russian Missile With U.S. Satellite Transferred to Launch Site

A Proton-M carrier rocket with a U.S. telecoms satellite will be transported early Thursday to a launch pad at the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan in preparation for launch Oct. 20, Roscosmos said.

According to Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, the Proton rocket with a Briz-M booster and the Sirius FM-6 satellite was cleared for the launch by a special state commission Wednesday.

It will be a second Proton mission after a launch failure in July when a Proton-M rocket carrying three satellites for the Glonass positioning system, Russia's answer to the GPS, crashed in a ball of flames, seconds after blasting off from Baikonur.

(RIA Novosti)