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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Looking Back ... April 17 to 23

- Rival investors who have been battling for control of the aluminum industry said they will merge their holdings to create the world's second-largest aluminum firm, an $8.5 billion giant that will control about 75 percent of the nation's aluminum production.

The new holding, Russian Aluminum, will control the nation's three largest aluminum smelters - Bratsk, Krasnoyarsk and Sayansk -- as well as top Russian alumina producer Achinsk and Nikolayev Alumina, Ukraine's biggest alumina plant.

- The government said it hopes to push through radical reforms to the tax code this year, lowering the general tax burden and moving to raise compliance, First Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov said Monday.

"Within three or four years, the nominal tax burden as a percentage of gross domestic product should be lowered from its current level of 41 percent to approximately 34 percent," Shatalov said.

The nominal tax burden counts all taxes that can theoretically be collected on the basis of existing tax rates.

- The largest steel smelter, Severstal, signed a deal with Izhorsk Metals under which it will buy one of Izhorsk's steel mills, paying an undisclosed sum and providing discounts on up to 100,000 metric tons a year of high-quality steel sheets, the companies said Monday.

The companies did not disclose the value of the deal, nor the price discounts agreed on for steel sheets. They were also quiet regarding the planned life of the agreement.

Severstal intends to modernize the mill and will use it to produce large-diameter pipes for gas giant Gazprom and possibly for export abroad, according to Severstal director Alexei Mordashov.

- Gazprom has received the go-ahead from regulators to raise wholesale rates for natural gas starting May 1 by as much as 20 percent on the domestic market, a move aimed at helping the company meet production costs, which exceed revenues for national sales.

Tariffs will rise by an average of 20 percent for industrial users and 15 percent for households, with varying rates set for different locations.

- Leading Moscow brokerage Regent European Securities ended trading Friday as parent company Regent Pacific Group restructured.

Regent, a leading investment house in Europe and Asia, had maintained an active presence in the emerging markets of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the 1990s. It pulled out of Ukraine, Romania and Kazakhstan after the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

- Central Bank chairman Viktor Gerashchenko on Wednesday changed tack by defending proposals to eliminate repatriation and resale of export proceeds.

The idea to cancel obligatory sales of export proceeds is correct in principle," Gerashchenko said. "But this is not the right time to do so."

Exporters are required to repatriate 75 percent of their hard-currency proceeds and turn them into rubles by selling hard currency to the Central Bank.

- Creditors of crisis-hit Rossiisky Kredit agreed to the restructuring terms mapped out by the Agency for Restructuring Credit Organizations, or ARKO, officials said.

- Lithuanian oil concern Mazeikiu Nafta said Thursday it had sealed a much-anticipated oil product offtake agreement with BP Amoco, broadening the American-run local refiner's export options.