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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Sberbank Share Issue

Reuters

State savings bank Sberbank said Monday it planned a public offering of new shares, amounting to about 26.3 percent of total ordinary shares after the sale, for 5 billion rubles ($173.4 million).

Russia's biggest bank priced the 5 million new ordinary shares at 1,000 rubles per share. The offer is scheduled to begin April 25. The bank currently has 14 million ordinary shares and 50 million preferred shares.

Sberbank spokesman Vyacheslav Kornev said the Central Bank, which holds 57.66 percent of Sberbank, would buy shares in the offering.

The Central Bank is expected to maintain its controlling stake in Sberbank, which holds the vast majority of domestic savings by Russian households.

Some analysts view the issue, approved by shareholders years ago, as a healthy capital-raising exercise. Others say one of Russia's powerful financiers could use it to build up a substantial minority stake in the bank.

Sberbank faces a court challenge from a group of minority shareholders, seeking to block the sale on concern that the shares will be sold at a fraction of book value. The shareholders are demanding an extraordinary shareholders' meeting.

The new issue, with a par value of 249.9 million rubles, was registered with the Central Bank on March 26, Sberbank said in a statement.




Business With Iraq

The Associated Press

Russia is hoping for preferential treatment for its businesses once international sanctions against Iraq are lifted, former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov said Monday.

Speaking at an international forum on Iraq in Moscow, Primakov said the embargo has failed to produce the results the West wanted, Itar-Tass reported.

The forum was called "Ten Years of Sanctions — A Road to Nowhere."

"We want Iraq to gain support both in the Arab and the Moslem world. We would like Baghdad to create a regime of preferential treatment for Russian entrepreneurs," Primakov, now head of the centrist Fatherland-All Russia party in Russia's lower house of parliament, was quoted as saying.

Russia tops the list of countries trading with Iraq, and the sanctions have hampered oil deals and Iraq's repayment of billions of dollars in debt. Russia's overall losses amount to some $30 billion, the Foreign Ministry has said.




Firm Buys Protek Stake

Reuters

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungary's largest pharmaceuticals firm, Richter Gedeon Rt., said Monday it had bought a 5 percent stake in Russian drug wholesaler Protek.

The deal was signed Thursday, Richter said in a statement, without giving further details.

Analysts said buying a stake in one of Russia's largest drug wholesalers would strengthen Richter's position in one of its key export markets.

"The decision is in line with Richter's strategy to strengthen its position on the Russian market," Raiffeisen Securities said in a report.

Out of Richter's total exports of $189.5 million in 2000, $72.3 million went to the Commonwealth of Independent States.




Oil Exports Down 29%

The Moscow Times

Russia cut exports of gasoline to countries outside the CIS by 29 percent to 460,700 tons in January and February, a State Customs Committee official told Prime-Tass on Monday.

Exports to non-CIS countries brought in $98.8 million.

In total, the country exported 526,000 tons during the period to earn $116.3 million.

The customs statistics show a 12 percent rise in the export of fuel oil outside the CIS to 3.34 million tons to earn $313.1 million, compared with 36,400 tons at $3.1 million to the CIS.




Korea, Russia Gas Talks

Reuters

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea is considering a proposal to take part in oil and gas development projects in Sakhalin, the South Korean Commerce, Industry and Energy Ministry said Monday.

The statements came after the first meeting between the two nations since President Vladimir Putin's visit to South Korea in late February.

The two countries also agreed to cooperate in developing gas fields in the Irkutsk region and resources in the Yurubcheno-Tokhomskaya region.

South Korea, Russia and China are conducting feasibility studies on developing the Kovyktskoye gas field in Irkutsk, as well as the construction of a pipeline from the gas field to South Korea via China and North Korea. The participants are aiming to complete their feasibility studies by the first half of next year.




Mosenergo Payment

Reuters

Moscow utility Mosenergo will pay a $6.5 million semiannual coupon on its 2002 Eurobond on Monday, the company said in a statement.

The next coupon is due in October this year, the statement said.

The $200 million Eurobond was issued in October 1997.

The utility has bought back $45 million. Mosenergo general director Alexander Remezov told a news conference in March that Mosenergo had stopped the buyback, but said the bonds "remain a problem."




Finnish, Russian Trade

The Moscow Times

HELSINKI, Finland — Finland and Russia have agreed to a document on the protection of mutual investments, Prime-Tass reported Finnish Foreign Trade Minister Kimmo Sasi as saying Monday.

Commenting on the work of a bilateral commission for economic cooperation, Sasi told a news conference that some details were yet to be specified and the document should be signed during a visit by President Vladimir Putin to Finland in September.

Sasi praised the commission's co-chair German Gref for promoting the work of the commission, Itar-Tass reported.