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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Satellite Launch Plan

The Moscow Times

Nine satellites will be launched over the next five years as part of Russia's orbital space program, Communications Minister Leonid Reiman said Wednesday, local media reported.

Reiman told the government committee for military and industrial issues, headed by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, that the government supported the proposals on the satellite program from the Communications Ministry, Russian Aviation and Space Agency and Defense Ministry.

Three satellites will be launched each from France, Italy and Japan, Reiman said.

TNK's Ultimatum


Tyumen Oil Co., or TNK, plans to wind up negotiations with the Sidanko oil company over the return to the latter of assets in prized oil producer Chernogorneft, TNK executive director German Khan said in an interview published Thursday.

"We have presented the following conditions to our counterparts, the Sidanko shareholders: The Chernogorneft question must be resolved by the end of April," Khan said.

"If a consensus is not reached by this time, then negotiations on the basic conditions that are currently clear to all parties, will be terminated.

Chernogorneft, the star jewel in Sidanko's crown, was bankrupted in court and auctioned off to TNK. Sidanko shareholders objected, and TNK later pledged to return the unit in exchange for a 25 percent stake in Sidanko.

Norilsk to Cut Exports


Norilsk Nickel plans to cut exports of nickel to 155,000 tons in 2001, the company said in a statement Thursday.

"Because of today's macroeconomic outlook and falling stainless steel production Norilsk Nickel's management has made the decision to cut nickel exports to 155,000 tons in 2001," the statement said.

A spokeswoman for the company could not give a comparative figure for 2000, but Norilsk said last year it had exported 118,300 tons of nickel from January to September.

Norilsk is a key supplier of nickel, copper and platinum group metals to the world's markets. It exports around 90 percent of its total production. Analysts in London have said that nickel exports from Russia are often an important swing factor in the metal's performance.

Gref to Meet U.S. Rep


WASHINGTON — Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Wednesday he plans to meet U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick in Moscow in the middle of this year.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an Export-Import Bank of the United States conference, Gref said he had reached agreement with Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham to hold annual meetings between energy officials from both countries to discuss sensitive political and energy issues.

Gref also met with business leaders. He said he had discussed a number of issues with aircraft maker Boeing, including the future signing of an agreement on the production of medium-range aircraft.

Gref also held discussions with World Bank President James Wolfensohn. Gref said they talked about legal reform and anti-corruption projects. The main parameters of a loan for legal reform should be agreed upon by July, he added.

Power Grid Deal


KIEV — The Ukrainian government approved a deal Wednesday to coordinate electricity distribution between Ukraine and Russia, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Dubina said.

The deal will allow both countries to supply and sell electricity to each other, although Russia tends to have more excess supply than Ukraine.

A preliminary agreement on the deal was signed during a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in February.

Russian officials have said Russia was considering exporting its electricity to Europe through Ukraine. Dubina said an exact date for synchronizing the two systems would be set in the coming days.

Mi-35 Catches Fire


LAGOS, Nigeria — One of Nigeria's new Russian-made helicopter gunships caught fire within hours of being delivered to the Nigerian air force, a military spokesman said Thursday.

A Nigerian air force spokesman said that the Mi-35, one of nine helicopters that went into service Tuesday, caught fire shortly after refueling at Osubi Airstrip in the Niger Delta oil town of Warri. No one was hurt.

Squadron leader Hassan Zoaka said the incident could not be blamed on poor training

The terms of the helicopter deal were classified, but newspapers said the Defense Ministry paid a total of $100 million during military rule, which ended in May 1999.

Electrolux Invests $60M

The Moscow Times

The Swedish appliance company Electrolux plans to invest $60 million in construction of a new washing-machine plant in St. Petersburg, Interfax reported Thursday.

The plant is to produce 300,000 washing machines a year using imported components. The finished product then will be sold in Russia and abroad. Experts say the plant will require more than 1,000 workers.

The project is a good example of successful Finnish and Swedish investment into the real sector of the Russian economy, said Ilpo Helander, the executive director of Electrolux.

Vimpelcom, Alfa Talks


Cellular firm Vimpelcom and potential local strategic investor Alfa Eko said Thursday they were still in talks on a potential deal to facilitate regional expansion.

Vimpelcom's head of investor relations, Valery Goldin, and the head of Alfa Eko's telecoms arm, Stanislav Shekshnya, confirmed the negotiations were continuing.

Andrei Kosogov, first deputy chairman of Alfa Bank's board, told a news conference earlier this week that the bank had been in negotiations with Vimpelcom but had backed out.

Moscow media then reported that Alfa Group had abandoned talks with Vimpelcom. Alfa Group comprises numerous units of which trading arm Alfa Eko and Alfa Bank are two.

"People at this press conference mistook Alfa Bank for all of Alfa Group. We are not in negotiations with Alfa-Bank. We issued this statement so as not to confuse the market," Goldin said.