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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Sberbank in Chechnya



MOSCOW (MT) -- The restoration of Chechnya's banking system began Monday with the opening of the first office of Sberbank in the village of Naurskaya, Itar-Tass reported Monday.

The news agency quoted Stanislav Ilyasov, head of the republic's government, as saying: "This will be the first fully-fledged banking office in Chechnya."

Sberbank's office will offer most of the banking services available to individuals and companies anywhere else in Russia, the news agency reported.




Silicon Duties Mulled



MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The U.S. Trade Department plans to slap punitive import duties on silicon metal shipments by several Russian producers as part of an anti-dumping investigation initiated by U.S. silicon metal makers, the department said in a government bulletin.

A 91 percent duty could be introduced on the imports of ZAO-Kremniy and SUAL-Kremniy-Ural, a subsidiary of No. 2 aluminum producer SUAL, and a 124 percent duty on silicon exported by the Bratsk Aluminum Plant.

The Trade Department's decision must still get final approval from the U.S. International Trade Commission, a quasi-judicial body for trade disputes.

If approved, the duties will be retroactive, covering the three months that precede the date of the official publication of the U.S. Trade Department's decision.

According to U.S. estimates, Russia exported more than $33 million worth of silicon to the United States last year.




Monopoly Slammed



MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov criticized Gazprom's monopoly in the gas sector Monday, saying it is not advantageous in either the medium or long term.

Speaking at a conference organized by investment company Brunswick UBS Warburg, Illarionov said creating a competitive environment in the gas sector, which would require substantial restructuring of Gazprom, would be positive for the development of the country's economy.

The major change required is canceling the current so-called ring fence division of Gazprom's share market into domestic and foreign segments, he said.

Foreigners are allowed to buy Gazprom shares only with the permission of the Federal Securities Commission. They are allowed to hold a total of 20 percent in Gazprom, but currently officially hold only 11.5 percent.




NRB Eyes $30M Stake



VORONEZH, Central Russia (Prime-Tass) -- The National Reserve Bank may buy a controlling stake in the Voronezh Aircraft-Building Co., or VASO, from the government for $30 million to $35 million, VASO general director Vyacheslav Salikov said Monday.

Salikov said VASO would meet in the near future with top government officials who will decide the company's fate.

"It's of no concern at all who will be the company's main shareholder -- the government or a private company," Salikov said. "It's more important for us to have orders on aircraft and money for aircraft purchasing."

NRB has proposed the government sell its stake to the bank through an additional issue of company shares.




$255M Gas Debt Plan



BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (Prime-Tass) -- Serbia's biggest energy company, Naftna Industrije Srbije, owes Gazprom $255 million for natural gas supplies, NIS general director Dimitrije Vukcevic told reporters Monday before leaving for Russia for talks with Gazprom, Itar-Tass reported.

The debt stems from gas supplied in previous years. This year's payments are being made in full and on time.

Vukcevic said the debt issue could be resolved by swapping part of Russia's Soviet-era debt to Yugoslavia, in which Serbia holds about $500 million, for state-owned NIS's debt to Gazprom.

Another option could be Russian companies participating in Serbia's privatization process, he said.




CB to Toughen Rules



MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The Central Bank plans to stiffen requirements for founders or shareholders of banks and other credit organizations, the bank's licensing department director Mikhail Sukhov said Monday.

The new requirements, which are expected to take effect by the end of the year, will concern both individuals and companies, Sukhov said. Anyone founding a new bank or other credit organization should be subjected to financial examinations, he added.

In cases of a purchase of a more than 20 percent stake in an existing bank, the Central Bank will ensure that the purchasing company's net assets allow for investment and that its current financials are in order.

In cases where less than 20 percent of an existing bank is being purchased, the Central Bank will control the volume of the purchasing company's net assets.




VEB Redeems $6.3M



MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Major state bank and government payment agent Vneshekonombank has redeemed 200 million rubles ($6.3 million) worth of AB series promissory notes from No. 1 car manufacturer AvtoVAZ, VEB reported Monday.

The bank placed eight note issues worth 1.6 billion rubles.




$12M Loan Provided



MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The private-business financing arm of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, has provided a $12 million loan to the Information Business Systems Group, the IFC said in a press release Monday. IBS is the country's market leader in consulting and systems integration.

The press release said the loan was provided to support IBS in financial restructuring and development, as well as to create a number of jobs in the IT sector. IBS president Anatoly Karachinsky said the loan was provided on "better terms than anything on the market."




Mazheikiu Nafta Vote



MOSCOW (MT) -- The executive board of Mazheikiu Nafta has voted Yukos senior vice president Mikhail Brudno its CEO for a year, succeeding Williams International representative Ronald Majors, RosBusinessConsulting reported Monday.

An extraordinary shareholders' meeting of the Lithuanian oil company decided that all chairs on the supervisory board, previously occupied by Williams representatives, would be passed to Yukos. Yukos will have six of nine members of the supervisory board, RosBusinessConsulting reported.




Yukos Growth Seen



MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Oil major Yukos will show double digit output growth in 2003, chief financial officer Bruce Misamore said Monday.

"We are not yet giving an official forecast but I can say that our average crude oil production in 2002 will be around 1.4 million barrels per day, but by the end of this year we will reach the 1.6 million bpd level," Misamore told the Brunswick UBS Warburg investment conference.

"Even if we keep it flat throughout 2003, which I think is unlikely, we will still have double digit output growth."




PM: Debt No Problem



MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Financial stability and a budget in surplus will help Russia live through its debt peak payments next year without problems, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said Monday.

"The year 2003 has ceased to be a worry for the government with practically any scenario," Kasyanov told the Brunswick UBS Warburg investment conference.

Russia is to pay $17 billion next year versus $14 billion this year.

The draft 2003 budget says about two-thirds of the budget surplus will be channeled toward paying foreign debt.




New Pavilion Opens



MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The Expocenter on Krasnaya Presnya opened a seventh pavilion last week, adding 100,000 square meters to its total exhibition space.

Expocenter general director Igor Denisov said the project, which increases the center's size by a third, cost $27 million.

"The Krasnaya Presnya complex will surpass in infrastructure the large exhibition centers in Poznan and Budapest and will become the leader in Eastern Europe," Denisov said.

The new pavilion contains two-level exhibition halls, conference rooms, subterranean garages and five office levels.

Of the money invested in the new pavilion, half was provided by the Expocenter, with the help of a loan from West LB Vostok bank. The other half was invested as a prepayment by Germany's Messe D?sseldorf to use the Expocenter at a discount and with scheduling rights.

The Italian Foreign Trade Institute also invested $3.5 million for the right to use the Expocenter in the next five years.




New Housing Needed



MOSCOW (MT) -- The development of real estate loans in Russia would require a twofold increase in the volume of housing construction amounting to 7 million to 8 million square meters a year, State Construction Committee chairman Anvar Shamuzafarov was quoted by RosBusinessConsulting as saying.

Speaking last week at the second Baikal Economic Forum in Irkutsk, Shamuzafarov said the development of real estate loans is hindered by the low volume of new housing construction. Just 1.5 percent of Russians are provided with new housing every year, he said.

Shamuzafarov said that given the current strict terms of real estate loans, only 4.7 percent of Russians could afford them. He said 67.7 percent of homes are owned by private individuals. The estimated value of the residential market is $200 billion, Shamuzafarov said.




Airport Restaurants



MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Luis Ltd. general director Nikos Antoniadis said last week his company would invest $1 million into the reconstruction of six restaurants, cafes and bars at Sheremetyevo Airport Terminal 2 by the end of the year.

Luis rents 557.2 square meters of floor space from Sheremetyevo for its venues. Antoniadis said the eateries would be totally renovated and their concept changed.

In December, Luis will also open a French Hippopotamus grill franchise in the MEGA shopping mall being built by IKEA in southern Moscow. The 430-square-meter restaurant will seat 180. Luis said it might open more Hippopotamus restaurants in Moscow if it becomes popular.




Intourist Schedule



MOSCOW (MT) -- Work dismantling the Intourist hotel was going ahead, with construction work on the new hotel due to begin in the new year and be completed in 2005, Deputy Moscow Mayor Iosif Ordzhonikidze said in an interview published Monday in Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Interfax reported.

In the interview, Ordzhonikidze also confirmed that the Moskva hotel on Manezh Square would be pulled down rather than simply renovated.

He said it would be replaced by one of the two original designs for the Moskva drawn up by Soviet architect Alexei Shchusev.