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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

LUKoil, Azeri Talks



MOSCOW (MT) -- No. 1 Russian oil major LUKoil and Azeri state oil company Socar plan to sign a preliminary agreement on LUKoil's participation in the construction of a Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, Prime-Tass reported Socar president Natik Aliyev as telling Azeri news agency Media-Press on Thursday.

He said that Socar is satisfied with the results of recent talks with the Russian company. LUKoil was not available for comment.

LUKoil president Vagit Alekperov said in January that the company remains interested in purchasing a 7.5 percent stake in the pipeline project.

Aliyev said that Russian oil major Yukos and U.S. oil company Chevron-Texaco had earlier expressed interest in the project.

Construction of the pipeline, which is to link Azerbaijan and Turkey, is expected to start in the summer.

The main shareholders of the planned 1,600-kilometer, $2.75 billion pipeline construction project are Socar with 45 percent and BP with 25.72 percent.




Sibir Property Seized



MOSCOW (MT) -- A Novosibirsk court that had ruled to seize several bank accounts of No. 2 airline Sibir has changed its decision and ruled to seize the company's property instead, Prime-Tass reported a Sibir spokesman as saying Thursday.

The court had arrested Sibir's bank accounts in order to compensate the families of people killed in the crash of a Sibir airliner last October.

Under the new ruling, the court arrested property not directly related to Sibir's operations worth 600,000 rubles ($19,500) at the company's airport in Tolmachevo to satisfy two suits against Sibir.

The company's senior management was not available for comment.

A Sibir Tu-154 en route from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Novosibirsk was brought down by a stray Ukrainian missile and crashed about 250 kilometers north of the Turkish Black Sea coast, taking the lives of all 78 passengers and crew. No party has been recognized as guilty.




RSPP Letter to Bush



MOSCOW (MT) --Arkady Volzhsky, head of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, or RSPP, warned against plans to introduce protective measures against Russian steel imports on the U.S. market in a letter to President George W. Bush, Interfax reported Thursday.

Volzhsky said the plans threatened to harm the development of trade and economic cooperation between the countries. The restrictions could cost Russia about $1.5 billion.




Trade Surplus Falls



MOSCOW (MT) -- Russia's foreign trade surplus in 2001 totaled $49.652 billion compared with $60.703 billion the previous year, Prime-Tass reported the State Statistics Committee as saying Thursday.

Russian exports declined 2.4 percent year on year to $103.042 billion in 2001, while imports increased 19 percent to $53.39 billion.

Exports to countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States declined 3.9 percent year on year to $87.737 billion, while imports from non-CIS countries declined 2.3 percent to $40.273 billion.

Exports to CIS countries increased 7.5 percent year on year to $15.305 billion, while imports from CIS countries increased 28.1 percent to $13.117 billion.




Polar Route Protocol



MOSCOW (MT) -- No. 5 airline Krasnoyarsk Airlines, or KrasAir, and the Canadian province of Manitoba have signed a protocol of intent to develop a joint transpolar routes program, Prime-Tass reported KrasAir as saying Thursday.

The airline and Manitoba have conducted a feasibility study on transpolar routes, KrasAir said in a press release. No other details were provided.

Earlier, NAV Canada, a provider of air navigation services, and Russia's Federal Aviation Authority released a feasibility study saying shorter polar air routes are feasible and offer significant time and fuel savings.

NAV Canada said it intends to invest around 7 million Canadian dollars ($4.4 million) in this project. Russian investment would be at around $33 million.




Beer Output Up 21%



MOSCOW (MT) -- Russian beer production rose 21 percent year on year in January to 44.3 million decaliters, Prime-Tass reported the State Statistics Committee as saying Thursday.

Output is expected to increase 8 percent to 10 percent year on year in 2002 to more than 700 million decaliters, according to the Russian Brewers Union.




Revised GDP Data



MOSCOW (MT) -- Gross domestic product grew 5 percent year on year to 9.0408 trillion rubles ($292.26 billion) in 2001 according to preliminary estimates, Prime-Tass reported the State Statistics Committee as saying Thursday.

Production of goods accounted for 3.4885 trillion rubles out of the total, while services made up 4.3722 trillion rubles and taxes 1.180 trillion rubles, the committee said.

The committee said it had revised GDP for 2000 after receiving supplementary data. Russia's 2000 GDP was 7.3022 trillion rubles in comparative prices, an increase of 9 percent from 1999 in real terms, the committee said.




CIS Cellphone Use



MOSCOW (MT) -- The number of mobile subscribers in the Commonwealth of Independent States besides Russia more than doubled in 2001 to 3.8 million from 1.7 million the previous year, the IDC research company said Thursday.

In Ukraine, the biggest cellular market in the CIS after Russia, the number of subscribers increased by more than 100 percent to 1.9 million, the IDC said in a report. There were a total of 1.9 million subscribers in other CIS countries.




German Warehouse



MOSCOW (MT) -- Top iron pellet producer Karelsky Okatysh is planning to establish a consignment warehouse in Germany's Baltic port of Rostok, Prime-Tass reported steel smelter Severstal as saying Thursday. The cost of the project was not disclosed.

Severstal, Russia's third-largest steel smelter, holds a 48.33 percent stake in Karelia-based Okatysh and consumes most of the company's output.




New Gazprom Officials



MOSCOW (MT) -- Stanislav Tsygankov has been appointed director of Gazprom's foreign affairs department and Andrei Ovcharenko has been appointed chief executive of Gazpromavia, the company's corporate airline, Prime-Tass reported Gazprom as saying Thursday.

Tsygankov is a former deputy finance, economy and property director of the Chukotka autonomous district and a former deputy finance minister of the Moscow region, Gazprom said in a press release.

Before his appointment as Gazpromavia chief executive, Ovcharenko was in charge of certification and licensing at Sheremetyevo Airport.




For the Record



Real disposable income rose 8.5 percent year on year in January but fell 36.2 percent month on month, Prime-Tass reported the State Statistics Committee as saying Thursday. The committee did not provide any reasons for the month-on-month decline. (MT)

Russian cigarette production rose 6.4 percent year on year but fell 32.4 percent month on month to 21.5 billion in January, Prime-Tass reported the State Statistics Committee as saying Thursday. (MT)

Retail trade rose 10.1 percent year on year in January to 264.5 billion rubles ($8.6 billion), but fell 19.9 percent month on month, Prime-Tass reported the State Statistics Committee as saying Thursday. (MT)

The dairy and meat-processing sector boosted year-on-year production 16 percent in January, Prime-Tass reported the State Statistics Committee as saying Thursday. (MT)

Russian producer price inflation was 0.3 percent month-on-month in January, slightly up from 0.2 percent in December, but down from 1.8 percent in the same month in 2001, the State Statistics Committee said Thursday. (Reuters)

Russia's gold and foreign currency reserves rose $200 million to $36.8 billion in the week to Feb. 15, Interfax reported the Central Bank as saying Thursday. (MT)

Demand at this year's first forex auction for foreign investors with rubles stuck in S-accounts was $95.17 million, Interfax reported the Central Bank as saying Thursday. The bank offered $50 million at the Feb. 19 auction. (MT)