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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Norilsk Modernization

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Norilsk Nickel plans to increase output from 2003 after modernizing its mines and smelters, a senior Norilsk official said Tuesday.

When the work is finished in 2003, the metals giant will be "in a position to begin growth of ore and metals again," said Leonid Rozhetskin, deputy chairman of Norilsk's management board.

Rozhetskin declined to give output forecasts for 2003. He said Norilsk would keep 2002 output stable at last year's levels until the work is complete.

$2Bln Refinery Plan

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) --Surgutneftegaz plans to spend $2 billion on the construction of a modern oil refinery in the town of Primorsk on the Gulf of Finland, Renaissance Capital said Tuesday in its daily report, quoting Surgutneftegaz officials.

In late June, Surgutneftegaz, state oil and gas company Rosneft and the administration of the Leningrad region signed a protocol of intent envisaging the construction of the oil refinery in Primorsk.

"The cost of construction is to be split between Surgutneftegaz and Rosneft," Renaissance Capital said.

All Calm at Slavneft?

MOSCOW (MT) -- Five days after an attempted coup by his predecessor, Slavneft head Yury Sukhanov has returned to the company's Moscow headquarters, Interfax reported Tuesday.

Former company president Mikhail Gurtseriyev, who stormed the building with OMON officers Thursday night, is to submit a note of illness and then be fired, Interfax reported Sukhanov as saying.

"After this, I think the process of privatizing the company will be sped up. In privately owned companies, two or three presidents don't tend to pop up. This only happens at state-owned firms," Interfax quoted Sukhanov as saying.

Metromedia Exits

MOSCOW (MT) -- New York-based Metromedia International Group has announced that it is planning to sell all its stakes in Russian telecommunications businesses

Through its subsidiary, Metromedia International Telecommunications, the group owns 50 percent of Moscow's leading alternative telecom operator Comstar, 71 percent of St. Petersburg operator Peterstar and 100 percent of operator BCL, also located in St. Petersburg.

Metromedia said Tuesday that it has chosen United Financial Group to assist in evaluating offers for its telecom assets. MCT Corp., another U.S.-based telecommunications group, declined to comment on reports that it was selling its assets in Russia.

Oil Duty to Rise

MOSCOW (MT) -- The export duty on oil will rise to $21.90 from the current $20.40 per ton following a decision by the government commission for protective measures in foreign trade and customs-tariff policies, Interfax reported Tuesday.

The new duty will take effect from Aug. 1, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said.

Poultry Duty

MOSCOW (Vedomosti) -- Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref has said Russia will impose a protective duty on poultry imports amid an investigation into losses suffered by domestic producers because of foreign competition.

The size of the tariff will be determined at a meeting of the government commission on protective trade measures in four weeks, but it will not exceed 20 euro cents ($0.20) per kilogram, Gref said.

Chicken Talks

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia is ready to extend talks with the United States on the poultry trade until Aug. 1 but will not allow imports after that date without a new veterinary certificate, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said Tuesday.

"It had been agreed that updating a new certificate would take two months, but today we see it will require three months to discuss this issue -- exactly until Aug. 1," Gordeyev said.

Chicken Imports Down

MOSCOW (MT) -- Imports of U.S. poultry are expected to reach 400,000 tons by the end of July, a decrease of 40 percent year on year, Interfax reported the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council as saying Tuesday.

The decrease is a result of the poultry import ban, Interfax reported the council as saying.

Tobacco Stake

SOFIA, Bulgaria (Reuters) -- Bulgaria's economic minister said Tuesday two new consortiums had been established to bid for an 80 percent stake in state tobacco monopoly Bulgartabac.

Nikolai Vassilev said the two consortiums had submitted documents at the privatization agency by the July 1 deadline. One of the newly established consortiums consists of Moscow-based private bank Regionalna Perspektiva, which has attracted cigarette distributor Market Fort as a partner, Vassilev said.

UES Boost

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- UES' consolidated revenues increased 13.8 percent year on year to 400.054 billion rubles ($12.7 billion) in 2001, PricewaterhouseCoopers said in its auditing report.

Pretax profit increased 163 percent on the year to 59.495 billion rubles, while net profit soared to 41.696 billion rubles in 2001 from 586 million rubles in 2000.

For the Record

Recent floods in the southern breadbasket region have destroyed only 0.1 percent of the cereals crop expected this year, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said Tuesday. (Reuters)

The State Duma should approve a bill on insuring private deposits in the first reading in December, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref told a press conference Tuesday. (Prime-Tass)

Aeroflot posted an uncovered loss of 599.998 million rubles ($19.02 million) in the first quarter to Russian accounting standards, the company said Tuesday. No comparative figures were provided. (Prime-Tass)

Export duties on ferrous metals were lifted as of Monday in accordance with a May 28 government resolution, Interfax reported the State Customs Committee as saying Tuesday. (MT)

Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Tuesday he is "confident" that gross domestic product will grow 3.6 percent or more in 2002. (Prime-Tass)

The starting price for the sale of 6 percent of LUKoil shares in the West will not be less than $660 million, Interfax quoted Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref as saying Monday. (MT)

Natural gas output rose in January to June to 302.741 billion cubic meters from 295.212 bcm in the first half of 2001, an industry source close to the Energy Ministry said Tuesday. (Reuters)

Seaborne crude exports through the principal ports used by Russia rose in January to June 2002 to 43.212 million tons (1.75 million bpd) from 38.933 million tons (1.58 million bpd) in the same period in 2001, industry sources close to the Energy Ministry said Tuesday. (Reuters)

Oil exports via state oil pipeline monopoly Transneft totaled 11.625 million tons in June, down 5.4 percent year on year, an oil industry source said Tuesday. (Prime-Tass)