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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Gazprom Investment

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The government will decide on a $5.9 billion investment plan for the world's largest gas producer, Gazprom, in the first quarter of next year, the head of the Federal Energy Commission said Monday.

The cabinet approved the program on Wednesday, but the plan had been drawn up on the basis of a 40 percent local price rise and 120 billion rubles ($3.77 billion) in borrowing.

The government, wary of fueling inflation, in the end only allowed Gazprom to raise local prices -- running at a fifth of export prices to Europe -- by 20 percent.

Georgy Kutovoi told a news conference that the government would not turn back on its 2003 price decision. "Twenty percent is the ceiling for gas price increases for companies and households." He also said the Commission's calculations said it was necessary to raise 2003 prices by 34.7 percent.

New Trademark Law

MOSCOW (MT) -- Representatives of Rospatent, the State Duma and intellectual property organizations toasted President Vladimir Putin's weekend signing of amended trademark legislation at a news conference Monday.

The new version of the law on trademarks, service marks and appellations of origin of goods, which was first submitted to the Duma in October 2000, provides a clear legal definition of what constitutes a counterfeit as well as tougher penalties for those who violate the law.

Rospatent head Alexander Korchagin urged trademark owners to put the new legislation to good use. "Intellectual property rights-holders must act responsibly by utilizing the many legal protections and enforcement options now available in Russia," Korchagin said.

But Russia is still playing catch-up, said Peter Necarsulmer, head of the Coalition for Intellectual Property Rights lobbying group.

Amendments are sorely needed in the Criminal Code, patent and copyright laws and the Customs Code.

The new law will come into effect 10 days after its publication in the government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

Norilsk's Banks Named

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Metals giant Norilsk Nickel said Monday it had appointed Citibank, ING Bank and Societe Generale to syndicate a $250 million loan next year.

Norilsk said the loan would become the company's pre-export facility, the only one in 2003, and would be used to replace existing indebtedness and for general corporate purposes.

It is expected that the syndication will start in January 2003 and will be a combination of a 12-month revolving credit line and of a three-year credit, the statement said.

EBRD Oil Loan

MOSCOW (MT) -- The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said Monday it is providing Geoilbent LLC a $50 million loan extension for the development of a recently discovered oil field in the Yamal-Nenetsk autonomous region in Russia .

Geoilbent is a Russian-U.S. joint venture based in Yamal-Nenetsk. The extended loan builds on a $65 million loan signed in 1996 to develop other oil fields in the same region. The new funding will help Geoilbent develop the new Yuzhno-Tarassovskoye oil field.

Among various measures agreed with the EBRD, Geoilbent has committed to cut pollution by reusing the associated gas produced by the field.

Property Use Revenues

Moscow (Interfax) -- A new model for managing state property could increase budget revenues from property use to 100 billion rubles ($3.14 billion), Deputy Property Minister Dmitry Aratsky said at Monday's parliamentary hearing on the problems of developing a legal basis for ensuring property rights.

In 2002, property management contributed 65 billion rubles to the budget, of which 35 billion rubles came from property sales.

The new model foresees an annual program approved by the government, with forecasts for the following two years, Aratsky said. The program should contain three main parts -- acquisition, use and disposal -- and should be closely tied to the state's budget, investment and privatization plans, he said.

For the Record

Russia's No. 3 cellular operator, Megafon, on Monday launched its network in the Kalmykia Republic.