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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Putin: Level VAT



MOSCOW (MT) -- President Vladimir Putin has urged leveling value-added tax rates for all sectors of the economy, Itar-Tass reported Wednesday.

"Ideally, we would like to see a lower VAT," he said Wednesday.

The current VAT rate is 20 percent, while some industries pay a discounted rate of 10 percent.

Putin said, however, that changing VAT is not "a matter of a day or two," it should be leveled gradually.




$300M Gazprom Loan



MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Germany's HypoVereinsbank has arranged a $300 million six-year secured loan for Gazprom to be used in the company's upstream and transportation projects, Gazprom said Wednesday.

"The funds will be used to finance the development of gas fields, including the giant western Siberian Zapolyarnoye field, to increase its gas output and to expand the gas transportation system throughput capacity," a Gazprom official said.

The loan was arranged jointly with Agricultural Bank of Greece and German West LB and co-arranged with DePfa Investment Bank.




$178M for Norilsk's 9%



MOSCOW (MT) -- Metals giant Norilsk Nickel revealed Wednesday that it was paid 5.5 billion rubles ($178 million) for its 9 percent stake in No. 3 steel company Novolipetsk Metals Plant.

The price was 1 million rubles higher than what Norilsk Nickel paid for the stake in May 2000. However, because of ruble depreciation, the company lost $16 million in dollar terms.

The Interros holding and its flagship Norilsk Nickel announced Tuesday that they had sold off their combined 34 percent stake in Novolipetsk.

Analysts called Norilsk's sale a good move in terms of corporate strategy and transparency. "The sale shows Interros' interest in Norilsk Nickel's corporate governance image," said Maxim Matveyev, an analyst at Alfa Bank.

Interros sold its 25 percent stake to the same consortium of buyers.

The price implies that the total 34 percent stake was sold for $670 million.




Oil Quota Cut



MOSCOW (MT) -- A government commission on access to oil pipelines will cut by 20 percent the export quotas of 24 oil companies that owe the federal budget a combined 2 billion rubles ($64.54 million), the RosBusinessConsulting news agency reported Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko as saying Wednesday.

Oil exports will be cut by a combined 25,000 tons. The names of the affected companies were not given.

The commission also decided to cancel regulations on furnace oil supplies.




Sibneft Rosy on Output



MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Sibneft said Wednesday it would raise output this year by 29.2 percent to 530,000 barrels per day (26.7 million tons) from 408,000 bpd in 2001.

"Sibneft will become Russia's fifth-largest oil producer if it meets its output target this year," the company said.

Sibneft, currently the country's No. 6 oil producer, said it planned to increase investments in exploration, production and refining to $686 million this year from $492 million last year.




Volvo Trucks



MOSCOW (MT) -- Volvo will begin producing trucks at a joint venture outside of Moscow by the end of this year, Interfax reported the head of Volvo Truck's Russia division as saying Wednesday

Preparatory work is now under way on the project in the town of Zelenograd, Lars Corneliusson said Wednesday. The project is a joint venture with the AFK Sistema holding.

The plant, VTS-Zelenograd, is expected to turn out about 200 trucks next year, but the capacity of the assembly line is somewhat higher, Corneliusson said.




Ford Plant Opening



MOSCOW (MT) -- Ford Motor Co. plans to officially open a car plant in the Leningrad region town of Vsevolozhsk in May, Prime-Tass reported the president of Ford's Russia division as saying.

Ford plans to launch serial production at its Russian plant in June, Henrik Nenzen said at a forum on investment in the automotive industry Wednesday.

The plant, which will have initial annual capacity of 25,000 vehicles, is to assemble about 4,000 vehicles this year and about 10,000 in 2003, he said.




Ukraine Bond Issue



KIEV (Reuters) -- Ukraine's state oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy said Wednesday it had already issued $1.4 billion Eurobonds to cover gas debts but was still in talks with Gazprom over the deal.

Ukraine's landmark deal to settle $1.4 billion in debts for Russian natural gas supplies ran into trouble last month after the Eurobond issue, regarded as the final step to solving the long-running dispute, was delayed.

Yury Boiko, head of Naftogaz Ukrainy, said at a government meeting the company had issued the Eurobonds and transferred them to the Bank of New York, which acts as custodian.

Kiev said Gazprom had objected to the type of the bonds. Gazprom denied that but said it would not accept the bonds until it had received all necessary documents regarding the issue.




Russian Steel Offer



MOSCOW (MT) -- Nonprofit partnership Russian Steel has confirmed plans to publicly offer its 48 percent stake in No. 3 coal producer Kuzbassugol in trust to the holders of the controlling stake, Prime-Tass reported the partnership as saying Wednesday.

The shareholders decided to form a working group to complete the legal arrangements required for the transfer of the stake, Russian Steel said in a statement following a meeting of Kuzbassugol's shareholders.

Metals majors Severstal and Magnitogorsk Metals Plant hold 51.7 percent in Kemerovo-based Kuzbassugol.




KamAZ Export Boost



MOSCOW (MT) -- Leading truck maker KamAZ plans to increase its exports 50 percent this year to 5,000 vehicles, Prime-Tass reported the company's press service as saying Wednesday.

KamAZ originally planned to export 4,000 vehicles this year, but existing orders now stand at 5,000 units. In 2001, KamAZ exported 3,300 vehicles.

KamAZ said that Iraq is expected to be the biggest foreign buyer of the company's trucks in the next two years.




Gokhran Fulfills Quota



MOSCOW (MT) -- Gokhran, the state precious metals and gems depository, fulfilled its export quota for platinum group metals in 2001, Prime-Tass reported Deputy Finance Minister and Gokhran chief Valery Rudakov as saying Wednesday.

The actual volumes of exports are not disclosed because the information is classified.