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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

GM, AvtoVAZ Sign JV

The Associated Press

GENEVA — General Motors Corp. became the first U.S. automaker to seal a manufacturing deal in Russia, signing a joint venture Tuesday with formerly state-owned AvtoVAZ to make a sports utility vehicle.

The $332 million project will produce roughly 75,000 of the vehicles, to be called the Chevy Niva, at AvtoVAZ's plant in Tolyatti, the company said during a press conference at the 71st International Auto Show in Geneva.

GM and AvtoVAZ will each hold a 41.5 percent stake in the new project, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will put up the remaining 17 percent.

Merloni to Build Plant

The Moscow Times

Italian household appliance company Merloni Elettrodomestici plans to build a new factory to make washing machines in the central Russian city of Lipetsk, Merloni said Tuesday in a statement.

Merloni bought the Stinol refrigerator plant, also located in Lipetsk, in October for $120 million.

The statement did not give any further details on the washing-machine factory, except to say it is expected achieve its maximum productivity within two years.

The statement was issued after a meeting between Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, company president Vittorio Merloni and acting director Andrei Guerr.

Interfax-Reuters Link

The Moscow Times

Local news agency Interfax and the largest international information agency, Reuters, have announced plans to sell Interfax information products through Reuters terminals, a joint statement by Interfax and Reuters announced Tuesday.

Reuters clients will now have the opportunity to quickly and easily subscribe to Interfax's services, the statement said.

Interfax provides news on general subjects, political, financial and business information and also news about the energy sectors in the former Soviet Union.

Air Fares Rise 46%


Domestic air fares rose an average of 46 percent in 2000 compared with the previous year, an official from the State Civil Aviation Service said Monday.

Valentin Pushchin, spokesman for the Transportation Ministry, said the rise in air ticket prices kept passenger turnover growth down to just 1 percent in 2000 at 21.7 million passengers.

Cargo turnover climbed 9.5 percent year-on-year in 2000 to 540,000 metric tons, with four airlines — Aeroflot, East Line, Atlant-Soyuz and Volga-Dnepr — accounting for 50 percent of cargo turnover for the year.

Caspian Summit Delay

The Associate Press

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan — A summit of leaders from countries bordering the Caspian Sea will be delayed from March to early April, Turkmenistan's president said Monday.

The summit was scheduled for March 8 -9 in Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan, but will be delayed until the first week of April at the request of Iran, President Saparmurat Niyazov said in a television interview. He did not explain why Iran had asked for the delay.

The five nations with coastlines on the Caspian Sea have tentatively approved a plan to divide oil and fishery reserves in the area into national zones.

Stepashin in IMF Deal

The Moscow Times

The Audit Chamber intends to work out a system of permanent cooperation with the International Monetary Fund to raise the transparency of the government's finances, Interfax quoted chamber head Sergei Stepashin as saying Monday.

"The Audit Chamber and the Fund have the same task: to make everything connected with the budget and finances transparent," he said.

Therefore, the IMF and the chamber had agreed to meet regularly and to share information, the news agency reported Stepashin saying. The information shared would be confidential, and President Vladimir Putin would be kept informed on it, he added

John Odling-Smee, head of the IMF's second European department, hailed Stepashin's suggestion.

$250M Bank Loan


ROME — Italy's Mediobanca and Vneshekonombank on Monday signed a deal under which Mediobanca will lend 275 million euros ($250.25 million) for several Russian projects, VEB head Andrei Kostin said.

Kostin said the agreement provided for crediting five to six projects in Russia.

The projects include the signing of an agreement in early March to lend 20 million euros to build an oil terminal near St. Petersburg under VEB guarantees.

$5.3Bln Jan. Surplus

The Moscow Times

The nation recorded a $5.3 billion trade surplus in January, Interfax quoted the Economic Development and Trade Ministry as saying Monday.

The ministry said exports totaled $8.5 billion for the month, 23.3 percent more than in January 2000.