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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Cellphones Hit Metro


Telecoms company Vimpelcom on Monday began offering cellular services in the Moscow metro system, with the Taganskaya station on the ring line the first in which Bee Line phones will operate.

By March 20, the company plans to operate throughout the Taganskaya transit hub, which includes the Taganskaya radial station and the Marksistskaya station. By the end of 2001, the company is planning to equip the Pushkinskaya and Tealtralnaya stations and several stations on the Taganskaya-Krasnopresnenskaya and Zamoskvoretskaya lines with cellular services.

Vimpelcom had planned to install the cellular services in the metro at the end of 2000. However, the company encountered "certain difficulties" in the launching of the project, said Nikolai Pryanishnikov, first vice president of Vimpelcom. He did not elaborate on exactly what those difficulties were.

Mad Beef Offer


German parliament deputy Helmut Lamp has suggested that instead of burning 400,000 cows infected with mad cow disease, they should be checked and sent as aid to Russia, Mongolia and North Korea.

In an open letter to Germany’s agriculture minister, Lamp said: "Highly placed Russian departments were prepared to deal with the question of purchasing large quantities of the meat, and ensure its controlled use in Russia." The letter said the meat would be sent to boarding schools, social institutions and prisons.

A translation of the letter was circulated by the chairman of the State Duma committee for agrarian issues, Vladimir Plotnikov.

"We have held no negotiations with Germany regarding the supply of meat," said Nikolai Reva, secretary of the technical and humanitarian aid committee in the Federation Council.

GAZ Cuts Volga Unit


The GAZ auto factory has abandoned its original plans to produce 100,000 GAZ-3111 a year and instead will build 10,000 units, the plant announced Monday.

The cars will retail for $8,000 each, a price close to the car’s production cost, instead of the originally planned $14,000, the company said.

According to the plant’s general director, Viktor Belyayev, it would not be cost effective for the plant to produce a low-priced car on a massive scale. The plant’s PR director, Maxim Remchukov, said the main buyers will be federal government structures.

Frequency Transfer


Regulators and military officials will soon work out measures to hand some military radio frequencies over to telecoms firms, Communications Minister Leonid Reiman said Tuesday.

Prime-Tass quoted Reiman as saying 4 percent of radio frequencies, which cellular companies need to run their networks, are designated for civilian use and 20 percent are used jointly by civilians and the military.

Moscow’s third GSM market entrant, Sonic Duo, was licensed to operate a network last year, but the ministry has yet to find frequencies to let it operate in the crowded 900 megahertz band.

Last year, the government abandoned an attempt to solve Sonic Duo’s problem by seizing some frequencies used by Moscow’s first two GSM operators, Vimpelcom and Mobile TeleSystems, after the companies protested.

GKO Auctions


The Finance Ministry will hold GKO treasury bill auctions for domestic and foreign investors March 21 and 28, Deputy Finance Minister Bella Zlatkis told an investment conference Tuesday.

Zlatkis said the ministry would offer six- and 12-month bills to investors, but added that the ministry would announce details of each issue after Wednesday, when the State Duma is due to hold a no-confidence vote on the government.

She has said earlier that the ministry would offer 6 billion rubles ($209 million) worth of GKOs to investors in March .

Zlatkis also said the ministry would not in March hold special auctions of GKOs for foreign investors seeking to repatriate revenues from a previous GKO restructuring. "There will be no conversion papers [in March]," she said.

Russia last auctioned 3 billion rubles worth of four-month GKOs on Feb. 28. The annualized average yield on the issue was 13.35 percent. The last special auction for foreign investors was held Jan. 31.