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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Norilsk Profit Falls

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Norilsk Nickel said Thursday that its 2001 consolidated net profit to international accounting standards fell 24 percent to 36.83 billion rubles ($1.16 billion).

Norilsk had a profit of 48.69 billion rubles the previous year according to IAS. It gave a separate profit figure of 14.12 billion rubles excluding a gain from a revaluation of unspecified financial instruments. The company was not available to explain the separate profit figure.

The company said the profit drop was due to lower world metals prices in 2001 and lower palladium sales.

Norilsk Arctic Plans

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Metals giant Norilsk Nickel plans to invest $215 million to reconstruct its Nadezhda nickel-matte smelter in the Arctic, an official from Norilsk Nickel's Arctic division said Thursday.

The investment is part of the financing program to reconstruct Arctic facilities by 2015, the official said.

$600M Real Deal

MOSCOW (Vedomosti) -- Moscow Development Co., or MDK, has signed a deal with retailer Real, part of Germany's Metro group, to build 20 hypermarkets in Moscow, MDK chief Shalva Chigirinsky said Wednesday.

Real is investing $600 million into the project and hopes to complete the chain within four to five years. The first stores will open in a year's time, said Chigirinsky, who is also head of Moscow Oil Co.

Ventspils Stake Sale?

MOSCOW (Vedomosti) -- Shareholders in Latvia's Ventspils Nafta oil terminal, a main export route for Russian crude, could sell a 51 percent stake in the terminal before 2003, the Seanews news agency said Wednesday.

The stake should be sold because Ventspils is facing difficulty because of falling Russian exports through the port, the news agency said.

Acquiring the stake makes sense for almost every Russian oil company, the Aton brokerage said in a report. Sibneft, Yukos and Surgutneftegaz may want to ensure a secure export channel, it said.

GDP Up 3.9%

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Gross domestic product rose 3.9 percent year on year in the first half of 2002 to 4.842 trillion rubles ($152.8 billion), the State Statistics Committee said Thursday.

An Economic Development and Trade official said Wednesday that GDP rose 4.1 percent year on year in the first half.

$217M From IFC

WASHINGTON (Prime-Tass) -- The International Finance Corp., the World Bank's private lending arm, invested more than $217 million in 18 unspecified projects in Russia during the 2002 financial year, the IFC said in its financial report Thursday.

The investment figure for this year is considerably higher than in previous years, the IFC said, declining to give figures for previous years.

Alef Metals Move

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Alef Bank has acquired a 70 percent stake in the Tula-based Kosogorsky Metals Plant from metals company Interindustrial Economic Cooperation Association, an Alef Bank official said Thursday.

The official did not say how much the deal was worth.

Alef hopes to acquire additional shares and raise its stake in Kosogorsky to more than 75 percent, the official said.

Frequency Deal

MOSCOW (Vedomosti) -- The State Frequency Commission has ordered that frequencies be allocated more quickly to cellular operators, the director of the Chief Radio Frequencies Center said Wednesday.

The allocation of frequencies should be coordinated with the military within 75 days, Andrei Beskorovainy said. The new ruling comes into effect on Oct. 1. Currently no time frame is set.

Paper and Pulp Battle

MOSCOW (MT) -- Ilim Pulp -- which is battling Base Element over the Kotlas Pulp and Paper Plant -- said Thursday in a statement that courts have issued conflicting orders on whether Kotlas may export its products.

Some $500,000 worth of goods for export have been held up since Tuesday by customs authorities in Arkhangelsk, where Kotlas is based.

Ilim, the country's No. 1 paper holding, has accused Oleg Deripaska's Base Element of pressuring customs into refusing to process the goods.

For the Record

State oil firm Rosneft and LUKoil plan to cooperate in exploration of the Azov Sea shelf, Itar-Tass reported Rosneft vice president Dmitry Antoniadi as saying Thursday. (Prime-Tass)

Russia plans to buy 10 billion cubic meters of Turkmen natural gas in 2005, Itar-Tass quoted Energy Minister Igor Yusufov as saying Thursday. (Prime-Tass)

German stock exchange operator Deutsche B?rse and fund company DWS said Thursday that two new funds for Russia and China will be traded on the XTF segment starting Monday. (Reuters)

The foreign trade surplus fell 18 percent year on year to $24.751 billion in the first seven months of 2002, the State Statistics Committee said Thursday. (Prime-Tass)

Retail trade turnover rose 8.8 percent year on year in the first eight months of 2002 to 2.319 trillion rubles ($73.2 billion), the State Statistics Committee said Thursday. (Prime-Tass)

Real disposable income increased 1.7 percent month on month and 6.7 percent year on year in August, the State Statistics Committee said Thursday. (Prime-Tass)

Foreign currency and gold reserves rose $200 million to $44.4 billion in the week ending Sept. 13, the Central Bank said Thursday. (Reuters)

Unemployment fell 1.1 percent month on month and 12.3 percent year on year in August to 5.393 million, or 7.5 percent of the labor force, the State Statistics Committee said Thursday. (Prime-Tass)

The producer price index rose 1.7 percent in August, the State Statistics Committee said Thursday. (Prime-Tass)

Production of vodka and other alcoholic beverages rose 10.4 percent year on year to 83.5 million decaliters in the first eight months of 2002, the State Statistics Committee said Thursday. (Prime-Tass)

The Bulgarian Supreme Court will examine appeals by three bidders -- including Russia's Metatabak consortium and Rosbulgartaba -- against the procedure for selling state tobacco monopoly Bulgartabak on Oct. 3, a court spokesman said Thursday. (Reuters)