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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

$2.6Bln Collected



MOSCOW (MT) Russias top 260 major tax-paying enterprises accounted for 40 billion rubles ($1.35 billion), about half of federal budget revenues in July, Prime-Tass quoted a Tax Ministry official as saying Tuesday.

According to official Tax Ministry data, taxes totaling 77.7 billion rubles ($2.6 billion) were collected last month, 23 percent above the budgeted target.




Caspian Envoy Arrives



MOSCOW (Reuters) An Iranian deputy foreign minister was to begin a visit to Russia on Tuesday, officials said, and local media said tensions over a long-running dispute over dividing the oil-rich Caspian Sea would be on the agenda.

The Iranian Embassy said Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Akhani would be in Russia for three days and that he was to meet Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Caspian envoy Viktor Kalyuzhny.

The Iranian envoys talks are likely to be connected to recent tensions over the Caspian, after Iran two weeks ago sent a gunboat to chase off a vessel used by experts from oil major BP Corp. to explore waters claimed by Iran and Azerbaijan.

The five litoral states around the sea, which has billions of dollars of oil wealth, differ over how to divide the resources.

Kalyuzhny last week held separate talks with the ambassadors of Iran and Azerbaijan in Moscow. President Vladimir Putin has also expressed worries that the Caspian dispute might be getting out of hand and said any use of force was unacceptable.




Telecominvest Director



MOSCOW (MT) St. Petersburg holding Telecominvest appointed a new acting general director last week, replacing Alexander Nyago, who has moved into the nuclear power industry, said a company spokesman.

Andrei Mikhailenko, Telecominvests deputy general director for organizational development, assumes the post of acting head. Until fall 2000, he was in charge of the Russian office of Luxembourg-based Complus Holding SA, which is linked to Telecominvest and has sold the Russian company several assets over the years, according to ComNews.ru.

In the early 1990s, Mikhailenko was marketing manager at St. Petersburg cellular operator Delta Telecom, a Telecominvest subsidiary.

The government picked Nyago out of several candidates to be president of TVEL, a state monopoly producing and supplying fuel to nuclear power plants, which has an annual turnover of more than $1 billion, Vedomosti reported.

Telecominvests subsidiary, NorthWest GSM, is the countrys third-largest cellular provider, and the holding also controls GSM mobile operators across the country.

Telecominvest shareholders will vote on a general director at the end of August. Majority shareholder Luxembourg offshore company First National Holding is 29.5 percent owned by Telia and 70.5 percent by Germanys Commerzbank.




MiG Offer to Hungary



BUDAPEST, Hungary (Reuters) Russia reaffirmed on Tuesday its offer to overhaul NATO member Hungarys aging MiG-29 fighter fleet and rejected criticism by Hungarys prime minister that the planes were not good enough.

"This aeroplane is not a lame duck, but rather a flying Hungarian eagle," Russian Ambassador to Budapest Valery Musatov told a reception honoring Hungarian Air Force Major Gyula Vari, who last week won the worlds "Top Gun" best fighter pilot title at a British air show for a record third time.

Vari achieved the feat flying a MiG-29, but that was little comfort to Russia, which stands to lose a small but long-standing customer for its military hardware.

Hungary, which joined NATO in 1999, is pondering replacing its 28 Russian-made MiGs with either U.S.-made F16s or Swedish JAS Gripens.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said last week that Hungary was NATOs "lame duck" with its MiGs, and the government would decide this month on a replacement.

Orban added that Hungary did not have enough money to buy fighter jets outright and even a lease scheme would cost 100 billion forints ($354.4 million).




Platinum Low



LONDON (Reuters) Platinum hit an 18-month low at the fixing in London on Tuesday morning, due to low demand and market talk of fresh Russian supplies, while gold traded quietly as it watched the currency market for direction, traders said.

Platinum fixed at $450.00 a troy ounce, its lowest level since January 2000, after dropping from $470.00 at the last afternoon fixing on Monday.

Talks of large PGM shipments from Russia were also affecting both metals, traders said.




Resettlement Loan



MOSCOW (Reuters) The government has approved an $80 million World Bank loan aimed at helping people moving from the countrys northern regions. The government said on its web site (www.pravitelstvo.gov.ru) that the loan had a 17-year tenor and a five-year grace period.

The agreement was signed in July by World Bank head James Wolfensohn and Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko, but the government later turned it down, saying it needed parliamentary approval.




KamAZ Looks Abroad



MOSCOW (MT) Leading truck maker KamAZ said Tuesday it was negotiating to sell truck assembly licenses to several foreign countries, Prime-Tass reported.

KamAZ said it was negotiating with companies in China, Vietnam, Cuba, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. No other details were available.

KamAZ trucks are already being assembled from kits in Poland, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan.