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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

$100M Loan for IKEA



MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will lend $100 million to the Russian subsidiary of the world's biggest furniture retailer, Sweden's IKEA, to build a huge mall just outside Moscow.

The EBRD said in a statement Monday that the mall and entertainment complex, which will include shops, restaurants, a cinema and a skating rink, would be Russia's largest and attract 25 million visitors per year.

"IKEA is a company focused on a long-term view of Russia and committed to good corporate governance and sustainable development," said Noreen Doyle, the EBRD's first vice president.

IKEA already has two stores on the outskirts of Moscow, and the new complex will be attached to the one in the south of the city




Rosneft Mulls Slavneft



MOSCOW (MT) -- Rosneft is considering taking part in the December auction of the government's 75 percent stake in Slavneft, Interfax reported a company spokesman as saying Monday.

The spokesman said a decision would be made when the sale price has been fixed and the conditions for the auction announced, Interfax reported.




UES Minority Meeting



MOSCOW (MT) -- UES minority shareholders will hold a second meeting with Alexander Voloshin, chairman of the power monopoly's board of directors, at the end of the month, Interfax reported Monday.

The first meeting took place Wednesday. Voloshin was presented with a draft agenda for an extraordinary shareholders meeting that calls for the replacement of CEO Anatoly Chubais and the amendment of the Unified Energy Systems charter to make the sale of its assets impossible before restructuring is complete.

"We are counting on getting an answer at the next meeting about whether the state is prepared to support our demands," Interfax quoted Vadim Kleiner, director for corporate research with UES shareholder Hermitage Capital Management, as saying.




$5Bln in Bootlegging



MOSCOW (MT) -- Illicit vodka production is worth $5 billion per year, State Duma agriculture committee chairman Gennady Kulik told the third all-Russia conference for manufacturers of beer and nonalcoholic beverages Monday.

Biznes Analitika predicted that about $6.2 billion of legitimately produced vodka would be sold next year.

Kulik blamed the price of beer. "If the price of one bottle of vodka used to be equal to the price of 10 bottles of beer, then now the ratio is one to three," he said.




Yukos Eyeing Italy?



MILAN, Italy (Reuters) -- Italian oil and gas group Eni is in talks with various groups about setting up alliances in its refinery business, a spokesman said.

"To reduce our market share in Italy, among the various possibilities, we are studying possible alliances with other companies. At the moment we are talking to various groups," the spokesman said Friday.

Eni declined to comment on a report in Il Mondo magazine that it had signed a letter of intent with Yukos to set up a 50-50 joint venture at AgipPetroli refineries in Sicily and near Venice.

Officials at Yukos refused to confirm or deny the report Monday.




RSPP, EBC Plan



MOSCOW (MT) -- The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, or RSPP, and the European Business Club have proposed setting up a joint initiative group aimed at hastening the establishment of a general European economic zone, Interfax reported the two organizations as announcing in a joint statement Monday.

Issued at the start of the Russia-European Union summit in Brussels, the statement said the group would expand business dialogue to include trade and finance representatives.

The group would also discuss energy, investment, simplifying access to loans, joining the WTO, harmonizing legislation, access to markets, the resolution of commercial disputes, small business cooperation and IT projects, Interfax reported.




Unemployment Drop



MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Russia's unemployment rate has declined to average European levels during the last few months, Labor and Social Development Minister Alexander Pochinok told reporters Monday.

He said that since the beginning of the year, the number of officially registered unemployed has declined from 5.9 million people to 5.4 million.

He noted that areas of the Northern Caucasus, especially Dagestan, and a few central Russian regions, especially the Ivanovo region, continue to suffer high unemployment.




Shoring Up Grain Price



MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The government will start buying food wheat and food rye Wednesday to prop up prices following this year's big crop, an Agriculture Ministry official said Monday.

"All facilities are now ready for the start of intervention on Wednesday," said Valery Pirozhnikov, a department head at the ministry's Federal Food Market Regulation Agency, which is responsible for making purchases.

Pirozhnikov said trade sessions would be held on seven exchanges, one in Moscow and others in the regions, which will be all linked by a single electronic system.




Cargo Flights to China



MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Russian airlines plan to resume cargo charter flights to China on Thursday, Deputy Transportation Minister Pavel Rozhkov said Sunday.

Cargo charter flights to China were suspended in late August for safety reasons following several accidents in Russia earlier this year.




Subsistence Level



MOSCOW (MT) -- The subsistence level for Moscow was set at 2,664 rubles ($83.84) per person per month in the third quarter this year based on data from the Moscow city statistics committee, Interfax reported Monday.

The subsistence level for the country as a whole was 1,817 rubles per person per month, according to State Statistics Committee data.




Beer Growth Drop



MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Top brewer Baltika said Monday it sees growth in the beer market dropping to 4 percent to 5 percent in 2003 from 8 percent to 10 percent this year.

The drop is forcasted due to falling demand increased taxes for the industry.

But Baltika president Teimuraz Bolloyev called the downturn on Russia's beer market a short-term negative and said he expected beer consumption to rise by a third over the next five years.




GAZ Back in Gear



MOSCOW (MT) -- No. 2 carmaker GAZ resumed work on its main production line after being shut down for more than a week, Interfax reported Monday.

The pause in production was due to repairs to the factory's painting facilities and November holidays, company officials said.

Production quotas for December will equal October levels, or 4,851 vehicles.




AvtoVAZ Profit Up



MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Top car maker AvtoVAZ posted a net profit of $158 million in January-September, up 8.2 percent year on year, the company said in a statement Monday.

AvtoVAZ's revenues totaled $2.398 million in January-September, up from $2.261 million for the same period last year, while its pretax profit fell to $225 million from $290 million.