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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Armenia Debt Deal

MOSCOW (MT) -- Russia and Armenia are expected to sign a debt-for-equity swap deal by the end of this year providing settlement for Armenia's $94 million debt to Russia, Prime-Tass reported Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisyan as saying Tuesday.

Sarkisyan said Russia might receive state stakes in Armenian power distribution companies, a hydropower plant and some other companies.

Aksyonenko Back

MOSCOW (MT) -- Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov called back Railways Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko from vacation to take part in a Cabinet meeting Wednesday to discuss investment in the Railways Ministry for 2002.

Aksyonenko took a vacation last month after the Prosecutor General's Office charged him with abuse of power.

Two weeks ago, Kasyanov said the railways minister must be present in order to discuss the investment program.

Budget Surplus

MOSCOW (MT) -- The budget surplus is expected to be 2.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product in 2001, compared with a 1.1 percent budget surplus the previous year, Prime-Tass reported Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin as saying Monday.

Kudrin, who is also finance minister, had been discussing budget fulfillment with President Vladimir Putin, said Alexei Gromov, Putin's press secretary.

Foreign Trade Surplus

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Economic Development and Trade Ministry has projected a 23 percent year-on-year decrease in the 2001 foreign trade surplus to $53 billion, a ministry source told Prime-Tass on Tuesday.

5.5% GDP Growth

MOSCOW (MT) -- Gross domestic product grew 5.5 percent year on year in the January to October period, Prime-Tass reported the Economic Development and Trade Ministry as saying.

Industrial production rose 5.2 percent year on year in that period, the ministry said in a report released Monday.

State Port Auction

MOSCOW (MT) -- The State Property Fund has announced an auction for a 24 percent-minus-one-share stake in the Tuapse Black Sea port to be held Jan. 31, Prime-Tass reported Tuesday.

Bids will be submitted from Dec. 10 to Jan. 11.

The Tuapse port, which is 49 percent state-owned, is Russia's second-largest Black Sea port. Its payables, as of Oct. 1, were at 53.1 million rubles ($1.7 million). Assets stood at 2.33 billion rubles.

Gazprombank Bond

MOSCOW (MT) -- Gazprombank, the daughter bank of Gazprom, will issue up to 300 million euros ($265 million) in 1 1/2- to 2-year Eurobonds, Deutsche Bank, the issue's lead manager, consultant and organizer, said Tuesday.

This will be the first international bond issue of a Russian bank since the August 1998 crisis. Gazprombank will announce conditions of the issue after a road show that is currently in Germany and will wind up in Moscow next week.

FEC Tariff Plan

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Federal Energy Commission has sent plans for natural monopoly tariff increases in 2002 to the Cabinet, Interfax reported Tuesday.

Electricity tariffs would be boosted 25 percent, on gas -- 35 percent to 40 percent, fuel transport by pipes -- 18 percent to 20 percent, said FEC Chairman Georgy Kutovoi. The Cabinet is to consider tariff policy on Dec. 6, he said.

Gazprom Shirks Issues

MOSCOW (MT) -- Gazprom's board of directors on Tuesday avoided discussing key issues like the Yamburg agreements and repurchasing Purgaz, instead approving a de facto list of appointments and departures.

The Gazprom board did decide to meet again Dec. 17 to tackle the issues.

Gazprom has until the end of the year to buy back the stake in the Purgaz gas company from Florida-registered Itera, a gas trader and producer. In 1998, Itera had a 49 percent stake in Purgaz. The next year, Gazprom -- the controlling shareholder -- sold Itera 32 percent of the company for a nominal value of 32,000 rubles (about $1,300 at the time).

Gazprom board also put off making any decision on the Yamburg agreements -- Soviet-era deals regulating the supply of East European labor and materials for work on Gazprom contracts.

The company is still negotiating with the Finance Ministry on debts related to Yamburg. Gazprom says the ministry owes it some $200 million.

IMF Experts Arrive

MOSCOW (MT) -- Technical experts from the International Monetary Fund arrived in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss IMF talks with the government in December.

The experts will gather information and make the necessary preparations for the main mission staff, according to the fund's representative office in Moscow,

The mission is expected to arrive in Moscow on Dec. 3 and complete its annual review of the economy by Dec. 11.

For The Record

Italian plant builder Danieli has offered $400 million in credits to help steel producer ZapSib with the first stage of its modernization plan, news agencies said Tuesday. (Reuters)

Norilsk Nickel on Tuesday declined to comment on market talk that it will cut copper, nickel and cobalt production by 10 percent in 2002 because of low prices. (Reuters)

The Finance Ministry will issue 4 billion rubles ($133.6 million) worth of six-month GKO bills in December, and more issues could follow by year end, Central Bank deputy head Bella Zlatkis said Tuesday. (Reuters)

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov will address the State Duma on Friday ahead of a crucial third reading of the 2002 draft budget later that day, a senior deputy said Tuesday. (Reuters)