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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

$400,000 Davis Cup

MOSCOW (MT) -- State-owned foreign property insurer Ingosstrakh has insured the Davis Cup for $400,000.

The Russian men's tennis team won the prestigious world team tournament by beating France earlier this month and the trophy will stay in Russia for the next year.

The company said in a report that the cup is insured for one year against risks ranging from fire and explosion to natural disasters and ill-intended actions, Interfax reported.

The Davis Cup is a 6.46-kilogram silver bowl resting on three wooden bases. Each base has silver plates engraved with the lineups of the teams that have won the cup since 1900, when the contest was held for the first time.

The cup is being held at the Bank of Moscow, but the Russian Tennis Federation plans to exhibit the trophy in a number of cities across the country in the coming months.

Kaliningrad Port Boom

ST. PETERSBURG (Prime-Tass) -- Cargo turnover at the Kaliningrad port grew 23.7 percent year on year to 3.23 million metric tons in the first 11 months of the year, port officials said Friday.

Export cargo turnover rose 37.2 percent to 2.78 million tons in the period, while import cargo turnover rose 33 percent to 450,000 tons.

Iraqi Truck Buy

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- UralAZ plans to supply 2,000 trucks to Iraq in 2003, Ruspromavto general director Dmitry Strezhnev said Friday.

UralAZ is Russia's leading producer of all-terrain trucks and the largest supplier of heavy-duty vehicles to the Russian army.

Ruspromavto, a subsidiary of aluminum major Siberian Aluminum, acquired a 51 percent stake in UAZ last year.

Delhi Pushed on Arms

NEW DELHI, India (AP) -- Russia will sell nuclear submarines and long-range bomber aircraft to India only if New Delhi buys jet trainer aircraft as well, a news report said Saturday.

"There has to be one package agreement," Mikhail Dmitriyev, Russia's deputy defense minister, was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.

"We … expect to conclude the package agreement before next summer," said Dmitriyev, also the chairman of Russia's Committee for Military Technical Cooperation, which oversees defense exports.

India is reportedly seeking to purchase Russia's Akula class of nuclear-powered submarines and the Tu-22 long-range bomber-cum-reconnaissance aircraft.

Nivas in Kazakhstan

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (Reuters) -- Kazakhstan's first large-scale car plant will open on Monday and assemble 10,000 cars in 2003 from parts supplied by Russian carmaker AvtoVAZ, a creditor of the Kazakh company, Bipek-Avto, said Friday.

Igor Novikov, regional director of Kazakhstan's largest bank, Kazkommertsbank, said by telephone from Ust-Kamenogorsk, the plant's location in eastern Kazakhstan, that the plant would produce AvtoVAZ Niva jeeps.

"In 2003 production of 10,000 automobiles is planned," he said, saying the plant would have an eventual capacity of 30,000 cars per year.

Gold Reserves Grow

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The value of gold reserves held by the Central Bank was $3.735 billion on Dec. 1, up from $3.733 billion on Nov. 1, the bank said Friday in a statement.

The Central Bank officially values its gold reserves at $300 per troy ounce.

The bank's total gold and foreign exchange reserves had risen to $48.205 billion by Dec. 1 from $46.767 billion on Nov. 1.

The Central Bank's reserves include gold, foreign currency and special drawing rights, an international reserve asset that is essentially a currency of the International Monetary Fund.

LUKoil Upgrade

LONDON (Reuters) -- Standard & Poor's has raised the long-term corporate credit rating of LUKoil to BB-from B+ with a stable outlook.

"The revised rating is based on the general improvement in the operating environment for Russian oil companies and reflects LUKoil's standing as the Russian Federation's largest oil company in terms of crude reserves, production, and exports, tempered by its moderate cost structure and leveraged financial profile," S&P credit analyst Eric Tanguy said in a statement.

But S&P warned that the new rating could be at risk if LUKoil adds to its debts.

Transneft Upgrade

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Standard & Poor's said Friday it had upgraded the local and foreign corporate credit ratings of oil pipeline monopoly Transneft from BB- to BB with a stable outlook.

"The importance of Transneft to the country's economy and the strong government interest in the company's continuing operations, even in the case of sovereign financial stress, do not protect it from being affected by government decisions in areas such as tariffs, taxation, and dividends," Standard & Poor's credit analyst Yelena Anankina said.

Moscow Upgrade

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Standard & Poor's said Friday it had upgraded the long-term ratings of Moscow and St. Petersburg to BB from BB-.

"Both cities have continued to benefit from the overall improvement in Russia and are experiencing sustained economic growth, boosting their liquidity and tax revenues," Standard & Poor's public finance credit analyst Yelena Okorotchenko said.

"Their performance will nonetheless continue to be affected by the ongoing intergovernmental reform within Russia, which, among other things, has led to significant changes in the structure of tax revenues and equalization mechanisms, and limits revenue predictability and flexibility," S&P said in a statement.

Ernst & Young Lease

MOSCOW (MT) -- International accounting giant Ernst & Young, developer Forum Properties and real estate consultants Colliers International announced Friday that they have sealed this year's largest leasing deal for class A office space.

Ernst & Young and Forum Properties, formerly CIED, which was advised by Colliers, have signed a 10-year lease agreement for about 10,000 square meters in a business park on 82 Sadovnicheskaya Ulitsa in the first phase of the project, Colliers said in a statement, which gave no financial details.

The deal is an extension of one signed with consultant Andersen before its Russian operations were merged with Ernst & Young. Noble Gibbons had advised Andersen on parts of that deal.

Berezovsky Radio Deal

MOSCOW (MT) -- News tycoon Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. plans to buy out the stake held by Boris Berezovsky's LogoVAZ in the two companies' joint media venture, LogoVAZ News Corp., or LNC.

The deal should take four to six weeks to seal, Bloomberg quoted Ewan Mirylees, vice president of News Corp. Europe, as saying.

"Our relationship with LogoVAZ is over for all practical purposes, and now we are just waiting for the paperwork to be completed," Mirylees said.

He said legal problems dogging Berezovsky and his LogoVAZ partners were the main reason behind LogoVAZ's decision to pull out of the partnership.

LNC owns Nashe Radio, which has about 40 transmitters broadcasting to 129 cities across Russia and the CIS, St. Petersburg-based radio station Modern, Ultra Radio and recording company Real Records, as well as a stake in media company StoryFirst, which founded popular television station CTC.

News Corp. is seeking to buy more radio stations in Russia, Mirylees told Bloomberg.

"We believe the market is going to consolidate and that there will be three or four players," he said. "We want to be one of them."

Coal Merger

MOSCOW (MT) -- In its first step toward going international, MDM Group's Siberian Coal Energy Company Baikal Ugol, or SUEK, will merge with its sister company and trading arm Rosuglesbyt, MDM announced Friday. The merged entity will be incorporated as a joint stock company and will drop "Baikal Ugol" from its name.

SUEK has applied for approval to the Anti-Monopoly Ministry and intends to register the new company and launch it internationally under a new English-language brand, Sibenco.

After the merger, SUEK will begin transferring its more than 80 component companies to a single share.

Restaurant Bonds

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Leading Russian restaurateur RosInter Restaurants has placed an entire issue of domestic bonds worth 300 million rubles ($9.42 million) an Alfa Bank senior expert, Lyudmila Khrapchenko, said Friday.

Alfa Bank is the issue organizer. NIKoil is the co-organizer and co-underwriter of the issue.

The three-year bonds will carry 12 quarterly coupons, with the yield of the first two being 19 percent.