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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Gazprom Pricing Plan

KRASNODAR, Southern Russia (Prime-Tass) -- Gazprom does not plan to hike gas prices for individual consumers in 2003, Itar-Tass reported Gazprom deputy CEO Alexander Ananenkov as saying Monday.

Ananenkov said, however, that gas prices for industry consumers are expected to be 50 percent higher in 2003 than in 2002. The agency did not elaborate.

Gazprom also plans to implement a scale for gas prices based on seasonal factors. For example, gas prices would be lower in summer than in winter, Ananenkov said.

According to the Finance Ministry's economic and social forecast until 2005, gas prices should increase in 2004-05 by not more than 14 percent to 15 percent above the inflation rate.

This gas price growth rate would allow for improved correlation among prices for gas, fuel oil and coal, the ministry said.

$8.2Bln in Arms Sales

MOSCOW (MT) -- State-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport has sold $8.2 billion worth of weapons abroad since its inception in November 2000, the company said Monday.

Formed two years ago from the amalgamation of Rosvooruzheniye and Promexport, Rosoboronexport now has contracts worth almost $10 billion and orders for $12.6 billion worth of weapons, the company said in a statement.

Rosoboronexport, which accounts for nearly 90 percent of Russia's arms sales abroad, last year posted revenues of more than $4 billion and expects the same revenues this year.

Earlier, Rosoboronexport general director Andrei Belyaninov said that last year, his company delivered $3.2 billion worth of arms, with aviation contracts accounting for 65 percent to 70 percent of all weapons sold.

According to the statement, contracts for less than $5 million accounted for 90 percent of all deals signed by Rosoboronexport last year. Earlier, Rosoboronexport deputy general director Viktor Komardin said that last year the company concluded more than 1,300 deals.

Itera Boosts Output

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- No. 2 natural gas producer Itera plans to produce 30 billion cubic meters of gas this year, up from 23.2 billion in 2001, Itera deputy CEO Gennady Skidanov told a news conference Monday.

He said the Florida-registered company intends to produce 60 bcm annually by expanding its production locations both in Russia and across the globe.

Specifically, Itera started developing the Bratsk gas condensate field in eastern Siberia's Irkutsk region and also teamed up with LUKoil to develop Uzbekistan's oil and gas fields in the Bukhara/Hiva area and the Gissar area.

Itera is also exploring joint production in Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and the United States, Skidanov said.

Simpler Registration?

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- President Vladimir Putin has proposed registering corporate entities using a simplified one-stop procedure as part of the government's program to remove red tape from the economy, Itar-Tass reported Monday.

Putin made his comments after meeting with Tax Minister Gennady Bukayev. He also made other suggestions, including the use of a simplified system for registering entrepreneurs.

The Tax Ministry is reregistering all legal entities in Russia as part of the government's efforts to streamline and simplify procedures by introducing a one-step registration system and getting rid of fly-by-night and nonoperating firms.

All legal entities in Russia are required to reregister by Jan. 1, 2003.

Bukayev said earlier that new registration certificates would be given to legal entities within six days of their application for reregistration.

Prior to the reregistration conducted by the Tax Ministry's regional directorates, about 4,500 municipal bodies carried out the registration of legal entities.

As of May 31, 2002, there were 3.1 million registered legal entities in Russia, of which 1.3 million failed to provide their balance sheets to tax authorities while another 250,000 had been providing zero balances, the ministry said earlier.

15,000 Bus Target

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Automotive holding RusPromAvto, part of investment company Base Element, plans to produce 15,000 buses in 2002, a figure unchanged from 2001, the holding announced Monday.

RusPromAvto's bus manufacturers include PAZ, Likino Bus Plant and the western Siberia-based Kurgan Bus Plant, among other producers.

RusPromAvto plans to produce 1,200 large buses in 2002 and about 2,000 in 2003.

$90M Sibneft Loan

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Oil major Sibneft has received a 3 1/2-year, $90 million loan from Germany's West LB bank, a Sibneft official said Monday.

Sibneft-Noyabrskneftegaz, Sibneft's largest oil-producing unit, is guaranteeing the loan, the official said.

The funds will be spent on redeeming previous loans and on capital investments. No further details were available.

Grain Tariff May Triple

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The government may increase grain import duties to 15 percent of customs value from the current 5 percent by the end of 2002, Itar-Tass reported the director of the Economic Development and Trade Ministry's tariffs department, Andrei Kushnirenko, as saying Monday.

He was speaking after a meeting with Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev.

The commission on customs tariffs and protective measures in foreign trade is expected to consider the issue Tuesday, Kushnirenko said.

Kushnirenko said he hoped a customs tariff policy for the whole agricultural sector would be developed by the end of November.

Wheat Boom Forecast

MOSCOW (MT) -- SovEcon forecast Monday that Russian wheat exports will soar to 9 million to 10 million metric tons in 2002-03, even if shipments to the European Union are blocked from January by planned EU import quotas.

It will be possible to export these volumes due to strong demand for cheap Russian wheat from other markets, rapidly developing domestic export facilities and intensive use of ports in neighboring countries, SovEcon said.

The expected export volumes are significantly higher than the latest estimates by the International Grain Council and by the U.S. Agriculture Department, which forecast Russia's wheat exports this season would be just 5.5 million tons.

Ruble Eases

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The ruble eased against the dollar Monday when banks saw that the Central Bank had stopped supporting the national currency with dollar sales, traders said.

In the unified trading session of eight exchanges, used to set the Central Bank's official next-day ruble/dollar rate, the ruble eased almost a kopek to a weighted average for today settlement of 31.7744 against the dollar from 31.7646 on Friday.

"People were expecting the Central Bank to continue backing the ruble, and the fact that it did not come out with its offer was taken as a signal to push the dollar higher," a foreign bank dealer said.

The Central Bank, which wants to ensure a gradual depreciation of the local currency, propped the ruble with dollar sales at 31.7850 over the past two sessions.