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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

$30Bln in the Bank

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Funds in personal accounts with Russian banks rose to 949.7 billion rubles ($29.8 billion) as of Oct. 1, up 35.2 percent since Jan. 1, and up 50 percent year on year, the State Statistics Committee reported Monday.

Savings in personal accounts with state-controlled Sberbank totaled 655.7 billion rubles as of Oct. 1, an increase of 30.8 percent since the start of the year.

Sberbank's share of the retail banking market fell 2.4 percentage points to 69 percent. The amount of hard currency accounts rose 45.8 percent to 356.7 billion rubles, including 177.9 billion rubles held in Sberbank, up 41.5 percent. Deposits in ruble accounts rose 29.5 percent in January-September, to 592.9 billion rubles.

Surplus Hits $7.7Bln

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Russia's federal budget surplus was 246.4 billion rubles ($7.7 billion) in January-September, up 37.8 percent year on year from 178.8 billion rubles in the same period last year, the State Statistics Committee reported Monday.

Federal budget revenues reached 1.578 trillion rubles over the period, while spending was at 1.332 trillion rubles.

Tax revenues accounted for 1.212 trillion rubles, or 77 percent of total federal budget revenues. Proceeds from the unified social tax came to 252.1 billion rubles; 102.9 billion rubles was from non-tax revenues, while revenues from special budget funds totaled 11.1 billion rubles.

'No Slavneft Bargains'

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Belarus will not sell its 10.83 percent stake in Russian-Belarussian state-owned oil major Slavneft at a bargain price, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said Monday.

He said Belarus agreed to sell its stake in Slavneft following the decision of the Russian government to sell a 74.9 percent stake.

The Belarussian property fund held four auctions to sell the stake but failed, as no buyers made offers deemed high enough, said officials close to the auctions. The starting price for the stake was set at 6.3 billion rubles ($198 million).

On Nov. 22, a Belarussian official said Sibneft made the first bid, with a $210 million offer. Slavneftebank placed the bid on Sibneft's behalf.

The Russian government plans to auction its stake in Slavneft on Dec. 18.

Telecom Revenues Soar

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Russia's telecommunications and postal industry had sales of 221.1 billion rubles ($6.9 billion) in January-October, up 11.7 percent year on year, the State Statistics Committee said Monday.

Sales to households rose 27.3 percent year on year to 98.9 billion rubles, while sales to companies were up 2.6 percent year on year to 122.2 billion rubles in January-October.

New telecom operators provided 53.3 percent of the total telecom service in January-October and 47.3 percent of the service to residential customers for the same period. No comparative figures for these services were provided.

Russia's total cellular mobile customers' base was at 13.5 million as of Oct. 1, up 24.7 percent from July 1.

Svyazinvest Mergers

MOSCOW (MT) -- The legal procedure for the absorption of Svyazinvest's regional subsidiaries with three super regional companies -- CenterTelecom, SibirTelecom and VolgaTelecom -- has been completed, Svyazinvest said Monday.

Sixteen companies have been merged into CenterTelecom and 10 companies each have been merged into SibirTelecom and Volga Telecom.

The reorganization of the super regional companies is to be completed at shareholders meetings planned for the first quarter of next year.

Sevmorneftegaz PSA

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The government has ordered the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, the Energy Ministry, the Natural Resources Ministry and the Finance Ministry to sign a production-sharing agreement, or PSA, with oil and natural gas company Sevmorneftegaz on the development of the Prirazlomnoye oil field, the government's press service said Monday.

The government also ordered that a working group be set up to work on the production-sharing agreement and nominated the members of this group.

Diamond Decree

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- President Vladimir Putin will sign a decree within days aimed at liberalizing the import and export of uncut diamonds, Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin said Monday.

The decree would grant uncut diamond monopoly Alrosa a five-year quota for exporting uncut diamonds -- a move the company has been seeking for several years.

Currently, Alrosa receives only one-year quotas for uncut diamond exports.

Alrosa accounts for 99 percent of uncut diamond production in Russia and produces 20 percent of the world's diamonds in terms of mass and 26 percent in terms of value.

In 2001, Alrosa sold diamonds and uncut diamonds worth $1.738 billion, including supplies to De Beers worth $550 million.

New Gokhran Head

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The government has appointed Vladimir Rybkin as the chairman of Gokhran, the state depository of precious metals and gems, the government's press service said Monday.

Rybkin previously served as Gokhran's deputy chairman. He replaces Andrei Kutepov, who served as acting chairman of Gokhran.

UAZ Sees 18.8% Hike

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Truckmaker UAZ expects to increase production 18.8 percent year on year in 2002 to 12,000 trucks, Ruspromavto -- the automobile holding of which UAZ is part -- said in a statement Monday.

UAZ produced 8,603 trucks in January-November, the statement said without providing comparative figures.