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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

RusAl Australia Plant

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Top aluminum producer Russian Aluminum and Australia's Aldoga signed a memorandum of intent Tuesday to build an aluminium smelter in the state of Queensland, RusAl said.

"Our possible participation in building the new smelter is the first but not the only project the company intends to implement in Queensland," a RusAl statement quoted its deputy chief executive, Alexander Livshits, as saying.

The statement gave no details on RusAl's participation in the project.

Privately held Aldoga Aluminium Smelter Pty. Ltd. wants to build a smelter near the coastal town of Gladstone capable of producing more than 450,000 tons of aluminum per year. The project is estimated at 3 billion Australian dollars ($1.57 billion).

Weapons to U.S.

MOSCOW (AP) -- A top Russian weapons manufacturer said Tuesday that it was negotiating the sale of air-to-air missiles to the United States, a news agency reported.

The Vympel company has been negotiating the sale of 18,000 RVV-AE missiles for mounting on U.S.-built F-15 and F/A-18 fighters sold to third nations, Interfax-Military reported Vympel director Gennady Sokolovsky as saying. Vympel is Russia's leading manufacturer of aircraft-borne missiles.

The director of the Russian Control Systems Agency, Vladimir Simonov, said his organization was ready to supply radar-guidance systems for the missiles, the report said.

Aeroflot Downturn

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Flagship air carrier Aeroflot said Tuesday it expected passenger volumes to decline slightly in 2002 after a 15 percent rise last year, but intended to increase revenues and profits.

Spokeswoman Larisa Solodukhina said by telephone the airline expected to carry "slightly fewer" than last year's 5.8 million passengers, but profits and revenues would both be higher. She said cost-cutting efforts would help boost profits.

$150M Alrosa Loan

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Uncut diamond monopoly Alrosa and France's Societe Generale bank have signed a preliminary agreement on a $150 million loan to Alrosa, a company official said Tuesday.

The loan would be disbursed for up to one year, the official said, adding that the first tranche of the loan is expected to amount to $50 million.

Alrosa and Societe Generale are expected to sign a six-year agreement to open a credit line worth $600 million. The long-term agreement has yet to be approved by the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank.

More Iraqi Praise

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammad Rasheed has invited Russian oil companies to take part in digging 2,000 oil wells, an Iraqi newspaper said Tuesday.

Rasheed, currently in Moscow to strike a long-term cooperation agreement with Russia, also said the volume of trade exchange between Baghdad and Moscow reached $6 billion since the start of an "oil-for-food" deal between Iraq and the United Nations, al-Rafidain newspaper said.

Rasheed said in Moscow on Monday that both Iraq and Russia were working on 67 projects in oil, gas, transport, communications and other fields. He said Russia was the top importer of Iraqi goods, including 1 billion barrels of oil per year.

RSPP Slams Bill

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, or RSPP, demanded the State Duma return the draft law on bankruptcy to the first reading because of "serious conceptual deficiences that can't be compensated by amendments and additions," the RSPP said in a statement Tuesday.

The draft law was passed in the first reading March 6.

The worst problems with the draft are that companies do not get enough protection from "false" bankruptcies, while creditors' wishes do not carry enough weight with court-appointed managers once proceedings have begun, the RSPP said.

The RSPP also decried the influence of the Federal Bankruptcy Service and the authority of the arbitration courts.

Moscow Stake Transfer

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The government has ordered the Property Ministry to hand over stakes in two Moscow-based companies to City Hall to cover expenses for carrying out the capital's functions in 2001, the government press service said Tuesday.

The federal government will transfer a 49 percent stake in the Svoboda cosmetics producer and 60 percent in the Khimavtomatika chemical equipment maker to Moscow.

The 49 percent stake in Svoboda is estimated to be worth 700 million rubles ($22.45 million), while the 60 percent stake in Khimavtomatika is worth 131.468 million rubles.

President Vladimir Putin ordered the transfer in a decree issued Feb. 20.

French Moscow Factory

MOSCOW (MT) -- French building materials maker Saint-Gobain said Monday it will invest 30 million euros ($26 million) in an insulation factory outside Moscow to expand its business in Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, the Dow Jones news agency reported Tuesday.

Through its Russian subsidiary, Saint-Gobain will transform a concrete factory in Yegoryevsk into an insulation plant with a capacity of 20,000 tons, the company said in a statement. Saint-Gobain said this is its first Russian investment and that production is to begin in 2003.

For the Record

Consumer price inflation should stand at between 1 percent and 1.2 percent in March, First Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was quoted as saying Tuesday. (Reuters)

Russians bought some 147 million euros ($130 million) in January, Agence France Presse reported the Central Bank as saying Tuesday. (MT)