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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

$10Bln Budget Surplus

MOSCOW (MT) -- Russia had a consolidated budget surplus of 312.2 billion rubles ($10.2 billion) in the first 11 months of 2001, up from 248.7 billion rubles in the same period of 2000, Interfax reported the State Statistics Committee as saying Friday.

Consolidated budget revenues in the 11 months totaled 2.370 trillion rubles, up from 1.785 trillion the previous year, and included 2.072 trillion rubles in taxes, up from 1.499 trillion rubles in the first eleven months of 2000.

$50M in Chemical Aid

MOSCOW (MT) -- Russia may get $50 million in aid for chemical disarmament from the United States this year.

Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the government commission for chemical disarmament, said in an interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta published Saturday that the deal was reached during his visit to the United States.

"We have much work to do before we actually get the money," said Kiriyenko, who is also presidential representative to the Volga Federal District.

Kiriyenko said the application for fiscal year 2003 will raise the question of unfreezing the entire volume of American aid, some $600 million.

Baltic Power Cutoffs

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Kaliningrad-based Yantarenergo energy company has halted power supplies to some Baltic Fleet facilities because of overdue energy bills, Interfax reported Saturday.

The fleet's debts have grown more than 30 million rubles ($980,000) in January and now stand at 150 million rubles, Yantarenergo's press service said.

The blackouts would not affect strategic facilities, the press service said.

Income Gap Smaller

MOSCOW (MT) -- Russia's income gap narrowed last year, with the wealthiest 10 percent earning 31.6 percent of total income in 2001, down from 32.5 percent the previous year, Interfax reported Saturday.

The poorest 10 percent, however, earned just 2.3 percent of income, compared with 2.4 percent in 2000.

BAT Sales Up 15%

MOSCOW (MT) -- British American Tobacco's sales in Russia increased 15 percent year on year to 47 billion cigarettes in 2001, Interfax reported the company as saying Friday.

Local cigarette production grew 13 percent to 45 billion cigarettes, BAT said in a press release. The rest were imported from the United States and Britain. The growth was due to expansion into the regions, the company said.

Soft Drink Battle

MOSCOW (MT) -- Soft drink giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are planning to boost local production in the coming year, the web site reported last week.

Coca-Cola has announced plans to increase production 30 percent at its St. Petersburg plant to 150 million liters in 2002, the web site said, citing Interfax.

Pepsi is planning to invest $20 million on expanding production at its Moscow plant. Alexander Shalnev, a Pepsi Russia board member, was quoted by Interfax as saying that the funds will go into a new soft drink production line. The launch is planned for spring.

TNK Upstream Plans

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- No. 3 oil major Tyumen Oil Co. said it plans to increase the amount of refined products it exports in 2002 as a result of Russia's decision to reduce the export duty on fuel oil.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in New York, Viktor Vekselberg, deputy chairman and head of strategic planning at Tyumen Oil, or TNK, said "yes" when asked if TNK planned to increase its refined-product exports, but he declined to provide specific estimates.

BP Eyes Sidanco

NEW YORK (MT) -- British Petroleum may increase its stake in oil company Sidanco, the Dow Jones news agency reported a top official at Tyumen Oil Co., Sidanco's largest shareholder, as saying Saturday.

Viktor Vekselberg, deputy chairman of Tyumen Oil, or TNK, dismissed a report that BP was seeking a stake in TNK International, a new holding company under which Tyumen recently consolidated Sidanco and other energy assets.

MGTS Rating Lifted

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Renaissance Capital upgraded Moscow city telephone company MGTS to "speculative buy" from "hold" on Friday, citing new 2000 figures that showed the stock was good value and the company improved transparency.

MGTS published 2000 and revised 1998-99 numbers according to generally accepted accounting practices on its web site. The figures showed a 2000 net profit of $9.42 million, down from $41.69 million the previous year.

United Financial Group also upgraded MGTS, boosting it to "buy" from "hold."

For the Record

Russia said Friday it would hold an auction for $50 million of foreign currency Feb. 19, one of the favored ways for investors to convert and repatriate rubles received from a 1998 debt restructure. (Reuters)

The government has decided to create a commission to reinstate intellectual-property rights on arms technology that was earlier transferred to other countries as part of organizing licensed production, the government said in a statement Friday. (MT)