Business in Brief

$63Bln Pledged to Fund Arctic Development

The Regional Development Ministry plans to spend 2 trillion rubles ($63 billion) by 2020 on a strategic program to develop the Arctic, it announced Friday.

Regional Development Minister Igor Slyunyayev said the draft program for economic and social projects in the Arctic could be submitted to the cabinet by Nov. 1. The government expects that more than half the costs, or 1 trillion rubles ($31 billion), will be met by major Russian companies, he said.

The federal budget is expected to provide one third of the funds, Slyunyayev said at a meeting of the general assembly of the Northern Forum in Moscow on Friday.

The Arctic territories, holding huge untapped natural resources, have been the subject of conflicting claims from the Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the U.S. in recent years.

(RIA Novosti)

Canada's Uranium One to Delist Shares as Rosatom Takes Control

Canadian miner Uranium One, which Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom just took private, will delist from the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22, respectively, its parent firm said Saturday.

Last month, Uranium One said it received regulatory approvals for going private with Rosatom units.

In January, Russia's state uranium company agreed to pay $1.26 billion to take Canada's Uranium One private, as the successor to the Soviet Union's nuclear industry seeks to strengthen its grip on supplies.


Evraz Steel Output Falls by 3%

Evraz said Friday its third-quarter steel output dropped from the previous quarter after it shut down assets across the world due to poor demand.

The company, part-owned by billionaire Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich, said its crude steel output fell 3 percent in the third quarter to 3.96 million tons.

Like steel firms around the world, Evraz has been downsizing since signs of a growth slowdown in China and stagnation in crisis-hit Europe sent steel prices tumbling from all-time highs in 2011.

Still, Evraz produced 1.4 percent more crude steel in the July through September period than in the same quarter last year when its figures were severely affected by flagging production at the Czech and South African enterprises.


Polyus Gold Posts 9% Fall in Revenue as Prices Decline

The country's biggest gold miner, Polyus Gold, said Friday its sales from continuing operations fell 9 percent, year-on-year, to $1.7 billion during the first nine months of the year due to a decrease in gold prices.

Gold prices have fallen by more than a fifth this year and are on track for their first annual drop since 2001. Polyus said its nine-month realized gold prices were down 15 percent to $1,431 per troy ounce.

The company, controlled by businessman Suleiman Kerimov, said its output rose 6 percent to 1.1 million ounces of gold in January to September, thanks to higher production at its mines in Russia: Olimpiada, Titimukhta and Verninskoye.

Its costly Natalka project in Russia's Far East — one of the world's largest untapped deposits — remained on schedule to start full operations next summer, the company added.


Rostec to Invest $100M in Ulyanovsk Aircraft Factory

State-owned high technology corporation Rostec will invest $100 million in an aircraft building factory in the Ulyanovsk Region, the local administration said Friday.

The factory, construction of which will begin next year, will be located in a special economic zone, the regional government said in a statement.

A tender for the project is expected to be announced within the next few days.

Rostec and Canadian aerospace company Bombardier announced in late August they had signed a letter of intent for the sale of 50 Q400 NextGen turboprop airliners. The two companies also signed a memorandum of understanding for establishing a final assembly line for the Q400 NextGen in the Ulyanovsk region with a capacity of 24 aircraft a year.

(RIA Novosti)

U.S. Requests Proton Rocket Launch Delay

The U.S. asked to delay the planned Sunday launch of a Russian Proton rocket carrying an American commercial satellite, after problems with one of its communications centers, a space agency official said.

The launch has been delayed until Monday because a U.S. communications station in South Africa is not working properly, said Sergei Gorbunov, a spokesman for Roscosmos, Russia's federal space agency.

The Proton-M rocket was scheduled to blast off Sunday at 10:13 p.m. from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

It is set to carry a Sirius FM-6 satellite into space, bolstering the U.S. broadcasting giant's satellite fleet already transmitting radio across North America.

(RIA Novosti)

PIK Ups 2013 Revenue Forecast

PIK Group, one of the country's largest homebuilders, said Friday its operational environment remained good, supported by solid demand for affordable housing, as it inched up its 2013 guidance for future revenues.

PIK expects total gross cash collections of 71 to 73 billion rubles ($2.2-$2.3 billion) in 2013, compared with its previous forecast of 69 to 73 billion rubles, after nine-month collections reached 52.2 billion rubles, up by a quarter from the year earlier. Cash collections are recognized as sales revenue once properties have been completed, it said.

It also revised guidance for new sales contracts to customers of 670,000 to 690,000 square meters compared with its previous estimate of 660,000 to 700,000, it said in a statement.

Nine-month new sales contracts grew by 7.7 percent to 473,000 square meters.


A Quarter of Internet Users Are Ready to Pay for Online Content — Poll

Only one-fourth of Russian Internet users are willing to pay for online content, polling group Public Opinion Foundation said in a survey presented Thursday.

Russia has stepped up Internet regulations in recent months. A law against online film piracy that came into force in August is due to be expanded by the end of the year to cover all forms of copyright infringement.

Technology news service reported that the results of the survey, which was presented at the Russian Internet Week 2013 event currently taking place in Moscow, showed 25 percent of respondents as saying they are ready to pay for watching or downloading movies. Twenty-two percent said they would pay for music, while 26 percent were prepared to spend money on books, the survey showed.

(RIA Novosti)

EBRD to Provide Advice to Small Businesses in Far East

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Russia's Ministry of Economic Development launched a program Friday to help small and medium-sized enterprises access business advice and the know-how of industry experts.

The new program, to be led by the bank's Small Business Support team, on the Southern, focuses on the Ural, Siberian and Far Eastern Federal districts. It will provide assistance to more than 420 enterprises over the next three years, including 110 in the country's Far East, the bank said in a press release.


Armed Forces to Receive $20M Flight Simulators

The armed forces will receive aircraft flight simulators in November worth almost 670 million rubles ($20.1 million), a federal agency said Friday.

The simulators, for Mi-8MTV-5 helicopters and MiG-31BM interceptors, will be delivered under a contract with the Dinamika research and technical services center, Russia's arms procurement agency, Rosoboronpostavka, said.

(RIA Novosti)