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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Sberbank Profits Up

The Moscow Times

Sberbank's gross profit in 2000 rose 19 percent year-on-year in ruble terms to 16.5 billion ($570 million), Prime-Tass reported bank president Andrei Kazmin as saying Tuesday.

In 1999, Sberbank made a gross profit of 13.9 billion rubles. Kazmin said the bank's net profit last year was 12.7 billion rubles compared with 8.4 billion in 1999. Corporate clients' funds reached 150 billion rubles, while retail clients' funds hit 347 billion.

Kazmin said corporate clients' funds constituted one-third of the bank's liabilities. "It would be very wrong to say now that Sberbank relies solely on people's savings," Kazmin said.

Kazmin said that over a period of five years, the bank received a gross profit of 65 billion rubles and net profit of 45 billion.

Continental Buys Stake


The German company Continental, the world's fourth-largest producer of tires, plans to acquire a controlling stake in the Moscow Tire Factory from the Moscow city government.

Continental said last week it plans to invest $43 million in the factory to increase its output from 2 million to 5 million tires a year.

Continental AG is the largest producer of tires in Germany. The company produces tires under the brand names Continental, Uniroyal, Sempert, Gislaved/Viking and Barum. The tires are sold to the assembly plants of Porsche, Ford, DaimlerChrysler and BMW.

Sales of the company in 2000 totaled more than $9.13 billion.

Alfa in Iraq?

The Moscow Times

Iraq is prepared to give trade and industry group Alfa Eko, part of the Alfa Group consortium, the chance to develop a number of major oil and gas deposits, Interfax reported a source in the government as saying Tuesday.

The announcement was made by representatives of the Iraqi Oil Ministry during an April 2-8 visit to Baghdad by an Alfa Eko delegation.

The source said cooperation was only possible if the company agreed to operate within terms of existing economic sanctions and with the support of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Alfa Group has said that it is "very interested" in the possibility of working in Iraq and exploring a new oil field in western Iraq.

EBRD to Clean Dumps


The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said Tuesday it had approved a $5.5 million loan to clean up a major toxic waste dump near St Petersburg.

The eight-year loan would help city authorities build new storage facilities, a drainage system and a liquid waste treatment plant at the Krasny Bor dump, which threatens not only the northwest region, but also neighboring countries.

"I had a chance to see the appalling threat the entire region would face if no action were taken over these huge lakes of black industrial sludge," the EBRD quoted its president, Jean Lemierre, as saying in a statement.

Krasny Bor's open-air reception pools have accumulated over 1.5 million tons of unidentified hazardous waste since the dump started work in 1970, and its capacity to absorb more toxic waste was expected to run out within a few years, the bank said.

Russia Wary on WTO

The Associated Press

Russia wants admission to the World Trade Organization next year, but is concerned with strict requirements posed by the WTO, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said Tuesday.

Russia wants to join "without special conditions that would harm its interests in this organization," Kasyanov was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Russia has been pushing for membership in the organization since 1995, but so far has failed to open up its markets and bring legislation in line with WTO norms.

Many Western officials argue that Russia still hardly deserves to be called a market economy — the key condition for admission into the 140-nation WTO, which sets rules for international trade.

They point to government interference in the economy and state subsidies that mean prices for Russia's exports are often below world market levels.

Moldova Gas Debt

The Moscow Times

Moldova's debt for Russian natural gas totals some $700 million, Prime-Tass reported Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin as saying Tuesday.

"This is a hot issue, but it can be resolved in the future development of economic ties between the two countries," Voronin said.

He said gas itself accounted for $112 million of the debt, and the remainder was for interest and penalty.

Voronin also asserted his country's readiness to invite Russian investors into Moldovan business. He said Moldovans are eager for Russian businessmen's participation in the country's economy.