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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

PM: Auto Plan Coming

KALUGA, Central Russia (Prime-Tass) -- The program to support the domestic car industry is being finalized now by the government and will be approved in the very near future, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said Wednesday.

He said the government is currently working on increasing import duties on trucks that do not meet European standards. The decision on the duty hike is expected to be made this fall, Kasyanov added.

Gazprom Eyes Utility

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Gazprom said Wednesday it was ready to buy 34 percent in Lithuanian gas utility Lietuvos Dujos and meet the terms set by the Baltic state's government for a strategic gas supplier.

The Lithuanian government agreed in May to sell 34 percent of the utility to a "Western strategic investor," a consortium of Ruhrgas and E.ON Energie AG.

DeltaBank Credit Card

MOSCOW (Vedomosti) -- DeltaBank unveiled plans Tuesday to issue Visa credit cards.

Unlike other cards available on the local market, Deltabank's offering is a credit card in the traditional sense -- cardholders will use a credit line opened by the bank and will not be required to first place money in a special account.

LUKoil Pulls Bid

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- LUKoil said Wednesday it was still interested in Poland's No. 2 refinery Rafineria Gdanska and had withdrawn its bid only due to differences with British firm Rotch.

The Polish state privatization agency said Tuesday that LUKoil did not take part in a final bid for Rafineria Gdanska, leaving Rotch, its former partner in the bidding, as the sole bidder.

The 75 percent stake is valued at around $1 billion in equity and long-term investments.

MDM Plans Eurobond

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- One of Russia's largest financial groups, MDM, plans to issue its debut $100 million to $150 million Eurobond in the fourth quarter of this year, the group said in a statement.

The statement, released late Tuesday, said Credit Suisse First Boston would act as lead manager and rating consultant for the issue.

5% Growth Required

LONDON (Prime-Tass) -- Russia's gross domestic product should expand at least 5 percent year on year for the country to catch up with leading industrial nations, World Bank chief economist for Russia Christopher R?hl told an investment conference Wednesday.

Rosneft in Sakhalin

MOSCOW (MT) -- The government awarded state-owned oil company Rosneft a five-year license in late June to jointly explore part of the offshore Sakhalin V block with BP, the Dow Jones news agency reported a Rosneft spokesman as saying Wednesday.

The joint venture will begin a seismic study before the end of summer, said Alexander Stepanenko. The license enables the companies to do exploration drilling, which can start as early as 2004, BP said Wednesday.

BP will hold 49 percent of the joint venture, Rosneft will own 25.5 percent, and its subsidiary, Rosneft-Sakhalinmorneftegas, will own 25.5 percent.

For the Record

Russia can expect deflation in July to August, Interfax reported Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Ulyukayev as saying Wednesday. (MT)

The Federation Council on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill allowing the sale of farmland. (AP)

The government and European Union signed a steel trade agreement in Brussels on Tuesday that provides for a 28 percent increase in steel exports from the beginning of 2002, Interfax reported the ministry's press service as saying. (MT)

The Federation Council approved a new bill on bankruptcy on Wednesday. (Prime-Tass)

The Federation Council approved a bill Wednesday lowering and simplifying the taxation of small businesses. (Prime-Tass)

Ford Motor Co. cut the ribbon Tuesday on its $150 million plant in Vsevolozhsk, near St. Petersburg. (AP)

The government plans to consider the program for domestic and foreign borrowing in 2003 on July 25, a government source said Wednesday. (Prime-Tass)

Russia has unified railroad cargo tariffs with those of Belarus and recommended domestic prices for wholesale gas supplies to Belarus, the government said in a press statement released Wednesday. (Prime-Tass)