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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Ratings Game

Prospective investors in Russia were left to make up their own minds this week as two major ratings agencies came in with conflicting reports. On Tuesday, Fitch IBCA gave Russia a vote of confidence by leaving its credit rating unchanged and revoking an earlier warning of a possible downgrade. On Wednesday, however, Moody's Investor Service lowered its rating for the Russian federal government, several regions and five major Russian banks, saying Russia remains vulnerable to the shocks emanating from Asia's financial crisis.

The Agriculture Ministry announced that it expected a drop in grain harvests due to shortages in fertilizer supplies.

Ukraine launched its second international bond in less than a month, selling 500 million euro ($540 million) of two-year debt.

A Russian consortium of satellite-related companies signed an agreement with the Polynesian kingdom of Tonga to launch a regional satellite communications network over the Asia Pacific region.

Chubais Tipped for UES

The Russian government nominated First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais to the post of chairman of the board of directors at the national power company Unified Energy Systems. UES is scheduled to consider the nomination April 4 at a special shareholders meeting. If approved, Chubais would replace Anatoly Dyakov, the Soviet-era director of the utility giant.

During a three-day visit to Germany, First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov cited the victory of building materials companyKnauf in a battle with a renegade manager for control of a gypsum mine as an example of the improving climate for investors' rights in Russia.

President Boris Yeltsin's Cabinet, at a meeting scheduled for March 19, will consider a draft plan for overhauling the country's civil aviation sector.

Russia and Sweden announced plans for a $19.1 million recycling plant for processing scrap metal left over from Russia's industrial sector.

U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin visited Silicon Valley in Northern California so that the Russian premier could meet with some of the high-tech leaders that have helped to fuel the U.S. economic boom. The trip was seen as an opportunity for presidential-hopeful Gore to display his technological acumen.

Dovgan Doings

In an attempt to distance himself from parts of his empire that have racked up bad debts, the self-proclaimed king of Russian brands, Vladimir Dovgan, has demanded that three companies remove his name and portrait from their range of consumer goods.

Moscow City Telephone Network officials announced that net profits for the company rose last year by 48 percent to 603.7 million rubles.

Cellular communications provider Vimpelcom announced an imminent 37 percent drop in cellphone initiation prices.

Valery Sukhov, the new chief executive of Rosgosstrakh, said the insurer's 1997 results were disappointing and the company was planning major restructuring of its 80 regional subsidiaries.

Subway Ruling

In a precedent-setting decision, a St. Petersburg court upheld a Stockholm arbitration court ruling and ordered the owner of the Minutka sandwich shop on the city's main drag to pay his former U.S. partners $1.2 million plus interest.

Criminal charges were filed against Rashit Sharipov, the former chairman of the board of the Magnitogorsk Metals Plant, for his obstruction of a $105 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Russia's State Property Ministry, effectively put into the position of a minority shareholder battling to maintain the value of its holdings in Eastern Oil Co., said that it "intends to take legal action" to protest a decision made at a Thursday shareholders meeting to transfer management powers to the holding company Yukos-Rosprom.

LUKoil and U.S. oil major Conoco signed an agreement to invest $2 billion in Russia's Timan-Pechora region to jointly develop four fields containing about 1 billion barrels of oil and 2 trillion cubic meters of gas.