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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

GM to Close Plant

MOSCOW (MT) ? U.S. auto giant General Motors is to liquidate its Tatarstan-based joint venture to manufacture off-road Blazers after the regional government resolved to terminate the project, Interfax quoted The Wall Street Journal as saying Tuesday.

Citing the head of GM?s Moscow representative office, David Herman, the paper reported that the decision had been made due to low demand.

The joint venture was formed in 1995, but four years later, assembly was halted because the company was unable to sell cars already produced.

Sukhoi Holding Set

MOSCOW (MT) ? The government has approved a draft presidential decree establishing the Sukhoi Holding Co. as designer and manufacturer of fifth-generation fighter jets, Interfax quoted Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov as saying Tuesday.

The holding will be funded by the state and will incorporate the Sukhoi military aircraft production company and the Sukhoi Design Bureau, as well as three other aircraft manufacturing enterprises.

Once the holding is established, shares will be issued and the state will gain a 51 percent stake in the holding, said Yury Koptev, general director of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency.

Wintershall Deal on Ice

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? German gas company Wintershall said Tuesday it had frozen for at least a year plans to develop an offshore Russian oil field with Gazprom due to technical and legal problems.

"It has been an uphill battle ? to agree on a matching production-sharing agreement for this $1 billion-plus, high-risk project, and we have therefore decided to put Prirazlomnoye on the back burner for at least one year," the company said.

The project, off Russia?s northern coast, would be delayed "awaiting more favorable times, more understanding, really, of investors? needs," Wintershall board member Reinier Zwitserloot said in a speech.

Wintershall and Gazprom signed a memorandum last year on developing the 76-million-ton (550-million-barrel) oil field in the presence of President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder.

Industrial Output Up

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? August industrial output rose 5.1 percent year on year and 6.2 percent compared with July levels, the State Statistics Committee said Tuesday.

The committee said in a statement that industrial output rose 5.3 percent in the first eight months of this year compared with the same period a year ago.

Industrial output rose 13 percent in January-August 2000 year on year .

An-124-100 Completed

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? Aviastar, builder of the world?s largest aircraft, has finished modernizing a giant An-124-100 plane that is to be used in a planned project to launch satellites from airborne planes.

Aviastar spokesman Alexander Sevastyanov said Monday that the An-124 was rolled out of the hangar last week and had already been used on a commercial cargo flight to Lensk, a flood-stricken town in the Yakutsk region.

The plane is one of several handed over to Russia?s Air Launch, a consortium led by airline Polet, which aims to secure part of the commercial satellite-launch market using modified An-124s.

"We plan to complete work on the second of the four An-124-100s by the end of this year and finish the other two in 2003 to 2004," Sevastyanov said.

The Air Launch project, including the construction of the four An-124-100s, is estimated to cost $500 million.

CPC ?Ready Soon?

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? The Caspian Pipeline Consortium?s new oil pipeline from Kazakhstan to Russia will be ready to load the first tanker in three weeks, the CPC head said Tuesday, but he declined to give its official opening date.

"Technically, we will be ready in three weeks," Sergei Gnatchenko told reporters. "As far as the solemn ceremony is concerned, that is a political question for which I?m not responsible."

The official opening of the $2.5 billion, 1,580-kilometer pipeline from Kazakhstan?s giant Tengiz oil field to the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk has been postponed several times since its originally scheduled June 6 date.