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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

LUKoil Quits Pipe

LONDON (Prime-Tass) -- No. 1 oil producer LUKoil will not participate in the construction of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the company's vice president, Dzhevan Cheloyants, told an energy conference Monday.

The pipeline is designed to deliver Azeri crude to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.

"Our company will participate in the project as a consumer, but will not participate in financing the pipeline's construction," he said.

MDM Buys Taganrog

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- MDM-Group's investment company Rinako has purchased 56 percent in the Taganrog Metals Plant from the plant's management, a Rinako official said Tuesday.

He declined to disclose the sum of the deal, saying it was a trade secret.

The official said Rinako also offered to buy a stake in the plant from the plant's No. 2 shareholder, the Alfa Eko group, which controls about 42 percent.

Gazprom Profit Falls

MOSCOW (MT) -- Gazprom's posted net profits fell $205 million year on year to $1.101 billion in the first nine months of 2001, according to international accounting standards, Interfax reported Tuesday.

Operating income in the nine months rose to $5.559 billion from $3.877 billion in the same period of 2000, Gazprom said at a news conference. Long-term debt dropped to $7.059 billion from $8.192 billion in 2000.

Gas Reserve Audit

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Gazprom plans to complete an international audit of its gas reserves by 2003, the company said Tuesday in a report on its Eurobond issue.

Gazprom's other strategic goals include improving the company's corporate governance and transparency. Shareholders are expected to approve Gazprom's corporate governance code at a shareholders meeting in June, the report said.

Gazprom Road Show

MOSCOW (MT) -- Investors placed bids totaling about $1.9 billion during Gazprom's road show for its Eurobonds, Interfax reported Gazprom deputy chief executive Vitaly Savelyev as saying Tuesday. This included bids totaling $400 million from Russian companies.

More than 180 bids to acquire bonds have been registered, Savelyev said. The investors' register will be closed in the coming week.

Car Import Spat

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Moscow Arbitration Court on Monday ruled against an Anti-Monopoly Ministry decision that would have halted simplified customs procedures for official car dealerships importing foreign models, Interfax reported.

The Anti-Monopoly Ministry wants the State Customs Committee to stop allowing official dealers to import cars at a discounted rate, arguing that this gives them an unfair advantage over other dealers.

Customs officials say they are not offering discounts, just simplified customs procedures. Ministry representatives said they would appeal.

Croatia Trade Praised

MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin praised growing trade with Croatia and discussed the conflict in the Balkans during a meeting Tuesday with Croatian President Stipe Mesic.

Russian-Croatian relations are developing positively and annual trade turnover is approaching $1 billion, Putin was quoted by Interfax and Itar-Tass as saying at their Kremlin meeting.

Putin said the two were discussing the situation in the Balkans and other international hot spots. They were also expected to discuss Russia's $1.5 billion Soviet-era debt to the republics of the former Yugoslavia, Itar-Tass reported.

VAT to Fall?

MOSCOW (MT) -- The government plans to lower value-added tax to 17 percent and annul reduced VAT rates for a number of commodities from 2004, Interfax reported Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin as saying Tuesday.

VAT will be lowered further in 2006, he said.

Vimpelcom Bond

LONDON (Reuters) -- Cellular operator Vimpelcom is to launch a three-year international bond with yields around 10.45 percent to 10.60 percent, perhaps as soon as Wednesday, traders and investors said Tuesday.

The mobile telecommunications company mandated investment banks UBS Warburg and J.P. Morgan to lead manage $250 million of three- to five-year debt in January.

An investor in Germany said the market estimated $1 billion of demand for the bond, but only $250 million of debt is expected to be issued.

Baltika in Latvia

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- No. 1 brewer Baltika and No. 1 Latvian brewer Aldaris have signed a license agreement by which Aldaris will produce two brands of Baltika beer in Latvia, Baltika CEO Taimuraz Balloyev said Tuesday.

Aldaris plans to start producing the Baltika brands in May. The Latvian brewer will have the exclusive right to sell the two brands in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and will also be the sole distributor of other Baltika brands in Latvia.

Microsoft Deal

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Russian Academy of Sciences and software giant Microsoft have signed a general cooperation agreement, Interfax reported Microsoft as saying Tuesday.

Under the agreement, Microsoft will help implement the academy's information technology program, Microsoft's Moscow office said in a press release. The three-year partnership could be renewed in the future, Microsoft said.

Microsoft will offer the academy special terms on software products and will provide consulting services and technical support.

Svyazinvest Order

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- State-controlled holding Svyazinvest has ordered its regional telecoms subsidiaries to transfer their cellular assets to depository company North West Financial Co., Vedomosti reported Tuesday.

This would allow Svyazinvest to tighten its control over the cellular assets of its regional telecoms, the newspaper said. Svyazinvest was expected to work out its strategy regarding these assets by the autumn.

RTS Hits High, Falls

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- A late-session slump pulled shares down from an earlier four-year high Tuesday, with the oil sector in focus as British major BP said it would hike its stake in Russian producer Sidanco.

The RTS index closed 0.27 percent lower at 371.250 on low turnover of $17.1 million, while the Reuters index of the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange ended 0.02 percent lower at 1,672.92 on trade of 4.7 billion rubles ($150 million).

For the Record

The board of directors of long-distance monopoly Rostelecom has decided to sell its 22 percent stake in research institute Giprosvyaz to a non-commercial partnership called the Center for Telecommunications Development Research for 90.55 million rubles ($2.9 million), the Federal Securities Commission said. (Prime-Tass)

German carmaker BMW AG boosted car sales in Russia through its official dealerships by 80 percent year on year to 803 vehicles in the first quarter, sales arm BMW Russland Trading said Tuesday.(Prime-Tass)