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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

$418M for St. Pete

MOSCOW (AP) -- The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development plans to lend Russia $418 million to build flood barriers in St. Petersburg, Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Kolotukhin said Monday.

Kolotukhin said the EBRD will sign an agreement with Russia on the loan next month.

Kolotukhin said the EBRD will also lend Russia $14 million in December to repair the Ostankino television tower, Moscow's highest structure, which was damaged in a fire in September 2000.

Oil-Product Exports

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Oil product exports rose 14 percent year on year to 67.75 million metric tons in January through September, Interfax reported, citing a State Customs Committee source.

Customs earlier reported a much lower figure for exports in the first nine months of 2002, but said it had stopped including trade with Belarus.

Traders have said the confusing official customs statistics have become less reliable. Official data showed Russia was an oil product importer in August and September instead of being one of the world's largest exporters.

Interfax said the country earned $9.34 billion from refined products exports in January through September of 2002, up 4 percent year on year.

Auto Consolidation

MOSCOW (Vedomosti) -- The Moscow government is planning to consolidate the city's automakers into one holding controlled by Viktor Belyayev, former head of the Gorky Auto Plant, a source said Monday.

The plants include ZiL, Moskvich, Avto-Framos and Tushino-Avto.

The source said the present general director of ZiL, Valery Nosov, would soon be replaced by Konstantin Laptev, who last week was made first deputy general director at ZiL.

Laptev said this agreement had been signed with City Hall, which has been trying to pull ZiL out of a crisis.

Slavneft Bid

MOSCOW (MT) -- Oil major Surgutneftegaz will participate in an auction for the Belarussian government's 11 percent stake in Slavneft, Interfax reported a source in the Belarussian government as saying Tuesday.

The auction is to be held Friday.

No Refinery Meeting

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The Moscow Oil Refinery did not hold an extraordinary shareholders meeting planned for Tuesday due to the absence of a quorum, said one of refinery's shareholders, who declined to be identified.

The meeting was called at the request of a minority shareholder and was to consider a conflict around the board of directors. Oil majors Sibneft and Tatneft have been battling the Moscow government for control of the refinery for more than a year, twice bringing the city to the brink of a gasoline crisis.

Aeroflot Upgraded

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Troika Dialog said Tuesday it had upgraded flagship airline Aeroflot to buy from hold, saying positive news could generate speculative interest in the stock.

"Recent news of an agreement between Airbus and Aeroflot over delivery of 18 medium-haul aircraft heralds the start of implementation of the company's program to substitute its fleet of 27 foreign planes for new models," Troika said. "This is a major step forward."

TNK Output Boost

LONDON (Reuters) -- Tyumen Oil Co., or TNK, said it was planning to significantly ramp up output in coming years with the help of a five-year investment plan for its aging Siberian fields.

Senior vice president Igor Dibtsev said Monday that TNK would next year produce 41.3 million tons of oil (830,000 barrels per day), a rise of 10 percent from 2002.

He said, however, that output would steadily rise over a five-year period due to plans to boost output at its depleted Samotlor field in western Siberia as well as through production-sharing agreements at new fields.

"We plan to invest $350 million to $400 million a year into our older fields, which could considerably boost output," Dibtsev said.

Yukos' Mazheikiu Plans

VILNIUS, Lithuania (Reuters) -- Oil major Yukos said Tuesday it hoped in 2003 to reduce by half this year's large losses at Lithuanian oil firm Mazheikiu Nafta, where it recently assumed management control.

"We don't expect profits yet next year, but there will be a change for the better," Yukos vice president and Mazheikiu board chairman Mikhail Brudno told reporters.

He declined to specify the expected size of total losses for 2002. Mazheikiu recently reported a preliminary nine-month net loss of 172.8 million litas ($50.41 million).

Yukos took over the struggling refinery, oil terminal and pipeline system in September after doubling its equity stake to 53.7 percent by buying out U.S. investor Williams.

Sakhalin-1 on Track

LONDON (Reuters) -- The head of an ExxonMobil-led group working in Sakhalin said Monday that plans for a multimillion dollar gas link to Japan or China were on track even though it is yet to snare buyers for the energy.

Neil Duffin, president of ExxonMobil subsidiary ExxonNeftegas, which operates the Sakhalin-1 project, said the pipeline could be completed as early as 2008.

"We planned on gas sales to start in 2008, and that is still feasible as the schedule for the pipeline is five years from when we get the contract," Duffin said on the sidelines of a conference.

The $12 billion Sakhalin-1 project plans to ultimately pipe some 28 million cubic meters per day of gas to Japan.

DTV Contestants

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Press Ministry on Tuesday announced six contestants that are to bid for the national television frequency belonging to the second-tier DTV channel on Nov. 27.

Besides DTV, which is 75 percent controlled by Sweden's Modern Times Group, the leading contestants are the ATV production company and the Channel One-connected VID production company, which submitted an application on behalf of newcomer Pyaty Kanal, or Channel Five, Press Minister Mikhail Lesin said.

Rambler TV, which is connected with gas monopoly Gazprom's now defunct AST-Prometei, former RTR general director Alexander Akopov's Novy Televizionny Proyekt and the little-known Neizvestnaya Planeta run by eccentric traveler Andrei Martynov have also applied, he said.

This will be the first time a foreign investor on the media market has had to fight for its license in a Press Ministry-controlled tender.

Lesin said no one would get special treatment. "No one deliberately wants to take the frequency away from DTV," he said. "It's an absolutely open situation."

The winner of the tender will have to pay a $1 million license fee.

The Press Ministry refused to renew DTV's license earlier this year, citing legal violations by the channel's old management.

For the Record

The Central Bank has set up a committee to deal with issues that arise as banks switch to international accounting standards, Interfax reported Central Bank first deputy head Tatyana Paramonova as saying Tuesday. The committee is scheduled to hold its first meeting in December, she said. (MT)

No. 2 airline Sibir transported more than 2.4 million passengers and 15,457 metric tons of cargo in January-October, the company said in a statement Tuesday, without providing comparative figures. (Prime-Tass)