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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Currency Sale Law

MOSCOW (Reuters) Ч The new compulsory level of 50 percent of dollar earnings, which exporters must sell domestically, will be maintained for the next six to 12 months, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Monday.

The State Duma passed Friday a bill to cut to 50 percent from 75 percent the amount of hard currency that exporters have to repatriate, one of a set reforms proposed by President Vladimir Putin.

"There will be no possibility to reduce further the volume of obligatory sales of hard currency proceeds in the next half year or year," Gref said. "This regulation should be eased, but gradually. One cannot just lift it altogether."

Mosenergo Denial

MOSCOW (Reuters) Ч The head of regional utility Mosenergo denied in an interview published Monday that he was planning to resign and charged the utilityТs parent company, Unified Energy Systems, with trying to force him out.

"I want to emphasize that I am not planning to leave the post as head of Mosenergo, even though I am being pressured to resign without a scandal," general director Alexander Remezov told the Kommersant newspaper.

"[UES chief executive Anatoly] Chubais called me in on July 4 and asked me to write a letter of voluntary resignation," Remezov added. "I refused, and he informed me that the decision to fire me was already taken and had only to be carried out."

Chubais told a news conference Friday that Remezov might be fired following the results of the companyТs audit carried out by UES, saying the audit revealed "serious claims" against him. However, Remezov has denied any wrongdoing. National electricity monopoly UES is the majority shareholder in Mosenergo with 49 percent.

The secretary to the Mosenergo board of directors, Yury Goncharov, said UES was looking to schedule a board meeting to consider sacking Remezov. He said a date for the possible board meeting could be set by Wednesday.

Output Up 5.5%

MOSCOW (AP) Ч Industrial output rose 5.5 percent in the first half of 2001, down sharply from the 13.1 percent growth in the same period last year, the State Statistics Committee said Monday.

Industrial output rose 3.7 percent in June, compared with a rise of 12.4 percent in June 2000, the report said. Second-quarter output was 5.9 percent, less than half the 12 percent recorded for the same period last year.

Lenenergo Eyes ADRs

ST. PETERSBURG (Reuters) Ч Regional utility Lenenergo will issue a Level-2 American Depositary Receipt at the end of 2002, the utilityТs deputy head told reporters Monday.

"We are preparing the necessary documentation [for the issue] for the main shareholdersТ groups," said deputy director for development Vladislav Kuzminov.

The company began placing its Level-1 ADR last month. The company is planning to convert 10 percent of its ordinary shares to Level-1 ADRs.

Kuzminov said the size of the Level-2 issue depends on the companyТs investment plans and on state tariff policy.

No UES Cutoff

MOSCOW (MT) Ч Atomic energy concern Rosenergoatom said Monday it had put off the imposition of restricted power supplies to Unified Energy Systems, Prime-Tass reported.

The move followed an appeal by UESТs dispatching center and management and was based on the consideration that rank-and-file consumers could be victimized.

Rosenergoatom, which unites all but one of RussiaТs nuclear power plants, passed a decision to cut down power supplies to UESТs regional subsidiaries in view of their chronic debts. The nuclear plants were supposed to stop the transmission of electricity that had not been paid up.

Lucent, MCC Deal

MOSCOW (MT) Ч Lucent Technologies and Moscow Cellular Communications announced Monday a deal to introduce a next-genereation wireless network, MCC said in a press release.

The deal will help MCC evolve its analog network to a higher-capacity digital network Ч the first step to a third-generation network, the company said.

"Our agreement with Lucent means that we are able to move toward the next generation of mobile telecommunications in line with other international and domestic operators," said Yury Khromov, MCC managing director.

The project calls for Lucent to provide equipment to build a digital pilot network in Moscow and the region. After testing, expected to be completed by the end of this year, a full-scale digital network will be constructed, MCC said.

Zhukov on Budget

MOSCOW (Reuters) Ч The government faces defeat in parliament on its 2002 budget draft unless it is overhauled to allow for greater expenditures, the chairman of the State Duma budget committee said Monday.

Alexander Zhukov said the booming economy was set to overshoot this yearТs target figures for inflation and GDP growth and thus pave the way for increased 2002 spending.

"I expect the government to correct the budget outline and redraft the structure of expenditures in 2002," Zhukov told a news conference.

The draft 2002 budget presented in June saw revenues at 1.64 trillion rubles and spending at 1.51 trillion rubles ($56.2 billion), giving a budget surplus of 1.26 percent of the gross domestic product.

Metro Begins Complex

MOSCOW (MT) Ч Metro AG, the worldТs third-largest wholesale and retail chain, laid the cornerstone last week for its second, $25 million complex in Russia.

The company said construction would be finished this year.

The 10,000-square-meter Metro Cash & Carry store at 211 Prospekt Mira will employ about 400 and be the second of six outlets that the German retailer will open here over the next two years.

The construction of the first complex at Leningradsky Prospekt started one month ago and is to open in Novemb