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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Insurance Plan Signed

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has signed a plan for insurance market development until 2007, Russian Insurers Union president Alexander Koval said Thursday.

The government considered the initial plan on April 26 and requested the drafters specify issues related to the establishment of a national reinsurance system, the introduction of international accounting standards, the augmentation of insurers' charter capital and the involvement of foreign capital.

Koval said the government is expected to submit these bills to the State Duma in the near future.

Insurance Bill Gets Nod

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The government has approved a bill amending the law on insurance and introducing mandatory licensing for all insurance market players, Vladimir Tarachev, the deputy head of the State Duma banking committee, said Thursday.

The bill requires gradual augmentation of nonlife insurers' base charter capital. Insurers must have a base charter capital of at least 10 million rubles ($316,000) by July 1, 2004, 20 million by July 2006 and 30 million by July 2007, compared with the current minimum of 2.5 million rubles.

The bill spells out a full list of documents to be provided by insurance market participants, as well as restrictions and the procedure of suspending or withdrawing a license.

The draft law also aims at separating life insurance from other types of insurance by forbidding life insurers from selling other types of policies.

14th Ramstore Opens

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Turkey's Ramenka opened its 14th Ramstore supermarket in the country Thursday, a $25 million outlet in southwestern Moscow.

The Ramstore in Belyayevo has a total area of 12,200 square meters, underground and aboveground parking lots, fast food restaurants, laundry services, drugstore, jewelry and other individual shops.

No Per-Second Billing

MOSCOW (MT) -- Moscow City Telephone Network, or MGTS, has called off plans to institute a per-second billing system.

"We don't plan to institute the pay-for-time system, the social costs would be to high," MGTS general director Vladimir Lagutin said Wednesday.

MGTS is to keep the current system in place in which customers pay a fixed monthly bill, but the network plans to steadily raise monthly rates instead.

Both the Moscow government and social groups have criticized per-second billing, saying that pensioners would not be able to afford to use the telephone.

Reserves Rise $900M

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Hard currency and gold reserves rose $900 million to an all-time high of $45.3 billion in the week ending Sept. 20, the Central Bank said Thursday.

In July, the Central Bank switched to publishing reserves data without short-term liabilities.

Gold Output Up 16%

MOSCOW (MT) -- Gold production grew 16.4 percent year on year to 108.2 tons in the first eight months of the year, Interfax reported a source in the Russian Gold Producers Union as saying Thursday.

The source said that in the first eight months of the year, gold mining increased 18.8 percent year on year to 6.3 tons. Russia produced 141.5 tons of gold in 2001.

Renault Mulls Return

PARIS (Reuters) -- French automaker Renault SA expects to decide this winter whether to return to the Russian car market, executive vice president Georges Douin said Thursday.

An attempt by Renault's local joint venture Avtovramos to assemble the mid-sized Megane was abandoned after the 1998 financial crisis as duties on the assembly kits imported by Renault soared.

Recently, though, Renault has been patching up its differences with the Moscow city government and has become more interested in the country now that its economy has settled down.

"Our initial plan would be for a volume of 60,000 cars per year. The decision should be made this winter," Douin said in an interview at the Paris motor show.

Vimpelcom Launches

MOSCOW (MT) -- No. 2 cellular operator Vimpelcom launched a network in the Krasnodar region and Adygeya republic in southern Russia on Thursday.

The network consists of a switchboard with the capacity of 50,000 subscribers and 68 base stations covering Krasnodar, Maikop, Sochi, Novorossiisk and other cities in the area.

Little CPI Change Seen

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Monthly consumer prices will be unchanged or rise by up to 0.2 percent in September, the State Statistics Committee said Thursday.

Consumer price inflation rose by 0.6 percent month on month in September 2001. The committee also said CPI rose 0.1 percent from the start of the month until Sept. 23.

Rosneft Refinery Deal

ST. PETERSBURG (Prime-Tass) -- State oil company Rosneft plans to build a refinery and oil product terminal in the Leningrad region with an annual product capacity of 6 million to 10 million tons, the regional government's press service announced Thursday.

Rosneft president Sergei Bogdanchikov and Leningrad region Governor Valery Serdyukov discussed the refinery's construction at a meeting Wednesday.

Rosneft is conducting a feasibility study. The costs of construction have not been revealed.

New Grain Terminal

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Rostov port on the Azov Sea has opened a new, $30 million grain terminal as part of the government's ambitious export program, Interfax quoted a port official as saying.

Deputy general director Sergei Makovsky was quoted as saying Wednesday that the 150,000-ton terminal had been opened in early September as part of the port's refurbishment program.

For the Record

Railway operator companies have boosted spending on new carriages 27 percent year on year to $120.25 million in the first eight months of 2002, the RosBusinessConsulting news agency reported the Railways Ministry as saying Thursday. (MT)

Grain trader OGO Group has upped its forecast for 2002 grain output to between 82 million and 83 million tons in clean weight from 79 million to 80 million tons in August, an analyst with the group said Thursday. (Prime-Tass)