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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Slavneft Exporting

MOSCOW (AP) -- Oil company Slavneft resumed exports of crude and refined products Wednesday after a five-day halt caused by a standoff over the company leadership.

Slavneft president Yury Sukhanov and other senior employees had been locked out of the company's head office since June 27, when police stormed the offices after business hours as part of a search for evidence in connection with an embezzlement investigation against him. He was allowed back in on Tuesday.

The Slavneft management said that the company, which is majority owned by the Russian government, lost $7 million each day that it could not go ahead with exports.

France Eyes Gas

MOSCOW (MT) -- France's TotalFinaElf is interested in joining a gas consortium being set up by Russia and Ukraine with German participation, Interfax quoted Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov as saying Wednesday.

About a quarter of gas consumed in France comes from Russia, Kasyanov said during a visit to Paris.

TotalFinaElf is prepared to invest $10 billion in developing the Shtokmanov gas condensate field under a production-sharing agreement, Interfax reported.

Aton Buys Rossiya

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The Aton investment company announced Wednesday that it has acquired 84 percent of the Rossiya insurance company.

The shares previously belonged to Base Element, Nafta-Rossiya and Millhouse Capital. The price of the deal was not disclosed.

The purchase is the latest step toward creating a rounded financial concern within the investment group, Aton president Yevgeny Yuryev said.

The success of the company hinges on the integration of complimentary businesses -- broker services, investment projects, asset management and insurance -- to increase the income received from one client, he said.

Aton is planning to create a regional network of joint branches and representative offices, Yuryev said.

Kasyanov Mulls OECD

PARIS (Prime-Tass) -- Russia might join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development after becoming a member of the World Trade Organization, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said Wednesday.

The OECD is comprised of 30 countries sharing a commitment to democratic government and a market economy.

11.73 Million Callers

MOSCOW (MT) -- The number of cellular subscribers in Russia reached 11.73 million in the end of June, J'son & Partners consulting company said in a report Wednesday.

No. 1 operator Mobile TeleSystems now has 4.37 million subscribers, while Vimpelcom had 3.32 million and Megafon had 1.7 million, J'son & Partners said.

MTS had 2.36 million subscribers in Moscow, while Vimpelcom had 2.86 million.

Jet Engine Tender

MOSCOW (MT) -- Jet engine manufacturers are to submit proposals to develop the engine for Russia's fifth-generation fighter jet to the Defense Ministry this fall, industry executives said Wednesday.

"We need two to three months to prepare documents to submit our preliminary draft, which will be considered in October," said Emmanuil Goldinsky, chief designer of state-controlled Salyut, the manufacturer of Al-31 engines for the Su-27 fighters.

Salyut's chief engineer, Valery Poklad, said the firm received tactical and technical specifications Wednesday.

An industry source said that other participants in the government tender for the next-generation engine might include Moscow-based Scientific Production Association Saturn and Ufa Enginebuilding Association.

The Sukhoi company was chosen in April to develop the $1.5 billion fifth-generation fighter, which is due to commence test flights in 2006 and hit mass production in 2010.

Tyumen Eurobonds

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Tyumen Oil Co. will place Eurobonds worth $500 million by the end of the week if the situation on international capital markets is favorable, TNK board chairman Viktor Vekselberg said Wednesday.

If the situation is unfavorable, the bonds will be placed in the fall, Vekselberg said.

Previously TNK had terminated its bond issue when auditor PricewaterouseCoopers recalled its audit conclusions at the last minute. TNK will act as borrower and the TNK International Ltd. holding company will act as guarantor under the deal.

Alfavit Head Killed

MOSCOW (MT) -- Pavel Shcherbakov, the head of the Alfavit investment company, was shot dead Wednesday by an unidentified gunman, Moscow police said.

The assailant walked into Alfavit's offices in southern Moscow with a pistol at 3:40 p.m. and shot Shcherbakov before fleeing.

Police and prosecutors have opened an investigation.

Alfavit, a shareholder of the Tagmet pipe production plant, has in recent years been involved in a number of ownership disputes over Tagmet with Alfa-Eco, a part of Alfa Group.

Shcherbakov, 29, was the son of All-Russia Confederation of Unions leader Vladimir Shcherbakov, Interfax reported.

Ruble Slips

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The ruble slipped against the dollar Wednesday as the Central Bank sold dollars for the third consecutive session to stop low interbank rates from speeding the ruble's fall, dealers said.

In the unified trading session of eight exchanges, which usually serves as the basis for the Central Bank's next-day ruble/dollar rate, the ruble edged down to a weighted average for today settlement of 31.5128 from 31.5124 on Tuesday.

"As overnight rates are low, banks made an attempt to push the dollar higher but backed off when they saw that the Central Bank started supporting the ruble at 31.53," said a dealer at one of the country's largest banks.

For the Record

Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday that its auto sales through its Russian dealership network rose 70 percent year on year to 2,884 cars in the first half of 2002. (Prime-Tass)

Mosenergo has asked the regional energy commission to raise heating and energy tariffs by between 19 percent and 22 percent as of Aug. 1, RosBusinessConsulting reported Wednesday. (MT)