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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Reserves Hit $33.6Bln

MOSCOW (Reuters) Foreign currency and gold reserves rose $600 million to an all-time high of $33.6 billion for the week ending June 1, the Central Bank said Thursday.

The bank rarely comments on the reasons for changes to its level of reserves.

Under Russias foreign currency regulations, exporters are obliged to sell 75 percent of their hard currency proceeds to the Central Bank for rubles.

$47M RusAl Loan

MOSCOW (Reuters) A Russian subsidiary of Raffeisenbank Zentralbank has organized a $47 million syndicated loan for Russias biggest aluminum group Russian Aluminum, Russian Aluminum said Thursday.

The one-year loan is to be used for production development and exports of primary aluminum and alloys, Russian Aluminum, or RusAl, said in a statement.

In addition to Moscow-based Raffeisenbank Austria, the credit syndicate includes Russian banks Mosnarbank, Russian Development Bank and Khanty-Mansiysky Bank.

Russian Aluminum attracted $150 million worth of credits in 2000 and the beginning of 2001.

$56M Profit for VEB

MOSCOW (MT) State-owned Vneshekonombank posted a net profit of 1.633 billion rubles ($56 million) for 2000, up 320 percent from 388.5 million rubles in 1999, Interfax reported Thursday.

The bank reported pretax profits up 240 percent to 2.140 billion rubles from 628.07 million rubles in 1999.

VEB had equity of 4.659 billion rubles at the end of 2000, up 61 percent from a year earlier. Net assets stood at 86.4 billion rubles at the end of last year, not including centralized operations, settlements in the context of the London Club and credits to the Finance Ministry for foreign debt payments.

The bank said that it had 33.7 billion rubles ($1.196 billion) in guarantees on its books Jan. 1 that were issued without government backing.

Crude Exports Up 5%

MOSCOW (Reuters) Russian crude oil exports outside the Commonwealth of Independent States grew 5.6 percent to 43.5 million tons (2.64 million barrels per day) in the first four months of the year, according to State Customs Committee data.

This compared to 41.2 million tons Russia exported to hard currency markets in the first four months of 2000, the data posted on the committees web site ( showed.

TNK Wants Rospan

MOSCOW (NYT) Oil major Tyumen Oil Co., or TNK, said Thursday that it has acquired most of the debts of Rospan, a Siberian gas producer that once belonged to Gazprom, the giant state-controlled energy company.

TNK did not give the total value of the debts it acquired, but a spokesman, Vladimir Bobylyov, told Dow Jones that Tyumen planned to take over Rospan and increase its role in the gas market.

Rospan is 51 percent owned by Itera, which paid Gazprom $300 for the stake after Gazprom had invested over $50 million.

Its fields in western Siberia are believed to hold 560 billion cubic meters of reserves.

One of Rospans creditors, Nafta Energiya, began bankruptcy procedures against Rospan in March 2000 to recover the $70 million it said it is owed by Rospan. Itera has been fighting to keep the company out of bankruptcy.

Itera has already paid most of Rospans creditors, an Itera spokesman, Nikolai Semenenko, told Dow Jones. Unfortunately, the remaining ones are the biggest, but we will try to solve this problem as well.

Tyumen has taken advantage of Russias often murky bankruptcy procedures before. In 1999, it took control of Chernogorneft, an oil producer, from Sidanko, one of Tyumens main rivals, and BP, which had co-owned it.

$7Bln Budget Surplus?

MOSCOW (MT) Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin said Thursday that the 2000 budget surplus could reach 200 billion rubles (about $6.86 billion), Prime-Tass reported.

Kudrin told reporters that 165 billion rubles of additional revenue had already been received in 2001, and another 35 billion rubles was expected.

He said that the additional revenues would allow for replacing revenues expected from privatization auctions that had not been received, with the rest held in reserve.

MDM Stake Shrinks

MOSCOW (MT) Russian retail bank MDMs stake in Hungarian chemicals company BorsodChem has dropped to 4.6 percent from 7.8 percent, BorsodChem said Thursday in a filing to the Budapest bourse, Dow Jones reported.

At the same time, the Bank of New York Co.s stake in the company fell to 7.7 percent from 11.4 percent, BorsodChem said.

Austrian venture-capital firm CE Oil & Gas Beteiligung und Verwaltung AGs stake in BorsodChem remained unchanged at 16.1 percent, as did the 24.8 percent stake owned by Hungarian retail bank CIB Rt.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Developments stake in BorsodChem was also unchanged at 8.6 percent.

Only stakes over 5 percent are registered.

U.S. Loan to AvtoVAZ

MOSCOW (MT) U.S. Ambassador James Collins signed off on a $112,500 grant to auto giant AvtoVAZ in Tolyatti on Wednesday, Interfax reported.

The grant, from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, is earmarked for developing solutions to the firms environmental and energy-supply problems.

Both Russian and American experts are to work on the job, Avtovaz said.

Cooperation between Avtovaz and General Motors was also discussed. Avtovaz, General Motors and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development are scheduled to sign a joint-venture agreement in the next two weeks to make VAZ-2123 Niva cars and possibly Opel Astra T-3000 cars.

RTS Off 1.93%

MOSCOW (Reuters) Russian shares closed lower Thursday, extending a correction after recent gains, but traders said the market was resisting bigger losses and that volumes were thin.

The benchmark RTS index ended off 1.93 percent at 209.30 on volume of just $16.6 million. The Reuters Russian Composite was off 1.05 percent at 1,306.40.

This drop is not a panic. There is more or less a structural reason for it. People are doing a little selling to put some money into some different paper, said Alfa Bank trader Oleg Martynenko.