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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Budget Change?

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Monday the government might change its budget forecast for 2002, to help push its frugal spending plan through a parliament that is demanding more public expenditure.

"We will make our evaluation and if it shows that gross domestic product could be larger [than predicted] then we will take that evaluation as our benchmark," Kudrin said.

Kudrin, who is also a deputy prime minister, spoke after the State Duma?s budget committee requested the GDP benchmark for the 2002 budget be increased to 11 trillion rubles ($373.5 billion) from 10.6 trillion rubles.

The Duma wants more funds to be allocated to social spending next year, while the government is hoping to set aside as much income as possible to prepare for a foreign debt repayments crunch in 2003.

Kudrin said Russia planned to borrow $2 billion via Eurobonds in 2003.

TNK Stops Bond

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? Oil producer Tyumen Oil Co., or TNK, said Monday it would postpone a $300 million to $500 million Eurobond to 2002 from this year, but would continue borrowing domestically.

"We shall not hurry with Eurobonds this year," Vice President Oleg Surkov told a news conference.

He declined to say whether the postponement was connected with market instability after terror acts in the United States. Surkov said TNK would offer 3 billion rubles ($102 million) worth of bonds to local investors in November. TNK, which has already made four ruble debt issues, has a debt of $1.7 billion.

Gazprom Eyes Sale

VILNIUS, Lithuania (Reuters) ? Gazprom said Monday it was interested in a 25 percent stake of Lithuanian gas utility Lietuvos Dujos and wanted another 25 percent stake sold to local gas supply intermediaries.

"Our formula is 25, 25, 25. Twenty-five percent for a Western investor, 25 for Gazprom and 25 for local companies," Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said after a meeting with Lithuanian Economy Minister Petras Cesna.

Germany?s Ruhrgas and Gaz de France have also said they are eyeing the sale.

GKO Auction

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? The Finance Ministry plans to auction up to 10 billion rubles ($339.6 million) in three- or four-year OFZ bonds and six-month GKO treasury bills in October, Deputy Finance Minister Bella Zlatkis said.

"We plan a paper with a three- or four-year maturity ... and probably one six-month paper. The two would be worth not more than 10 billion rubles," Zlatkis said. She also said she expected the annualized average yield on an issue of 5-month GKOs on Wednesday not to exceed 14 percent.

IMF Paid $24M

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? Russia paid a scheduled $24.98 million to the International Monetary Fund on Monday, a Finance Ministry official said.

Russia has to pay about $2 billion to the fund this year, and the next payment is due on Sept. 28.

No Central Bank Rush

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? The Central Bank will not rush to sell its stake in Sberbank but will exit the capital of Vneshtorgbank, one of the country?s biggest, by 2003, Kommersant daily said Monday.

The government will separate the functions of a state debt agent and a banking entity of Vneshekonombank, Kommersant said, citing what it said was a banking reform plan prepared by the Central Bank and the government.

Neither the government nor the Central Bank was immediately available for comment on the authenticity of the document.

RusAl Assured

CONAKRY, Guinea (Reuters) ? Russian Aluminum, fearing a challenge by competitors over a concession to develop a bauxite mine in Guinea, said it had been reassured by the West African country?s government.

Guinea is the world?s second largest producer of bauxite, the raw material from which alumina and then aluminum are made ? after Australia. It has 30 percent of total known reserves.

RusAl, Russia?s top aluminum producer, said in July it had signed a contract to develop the Dian-Dian mine during a visit to Moscow by Guinean President Lansana Conte.

However, RusAl?s representative in Guinea said he had been informed by company executives in Moscow that Compagnie de Bauxite de Guinee ? a joint venture between the government and an international consortium ?planned to challenge the deal.

"I went to see the secretary general at the Ministry of Mines today," Anatoly Pantchenko said shortly after the meeting Friday.

"He promised me that the ministry will write to RusAl next week confirming the award of the concession to develop the Dian-Dian deposit."