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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Voloshin Stays at UES?

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The Kremlin's former chief of staff Alexander Voloshin is likely to remain the chairman of the power grid monopoly Unified Energy Systems' board of directors until the 2004 annual shareholders' meeting, Itar-Tass quoted a senior executive in the company as saying Friday.

Voloshin, who was relieved of his Kremlin post Thursday, represents the government on the board.

On Thursday, Valentin Zavadnikov, a UES director and member of the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, confirmed to reporters that UES management is considering the appointment of Voloshin as the full-time chairman of the company's board of directors.

Power Market Starts

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia's new electricity exchange held the country's first power trades at market prices on Saturday, a key step toward deregulation of the power market in 2006, the exchange said.

The market price was lower than the state-regulated wholesale rate, a spokesman for the exchange said.

The exchange said six buyers and seven sellers participated in the first session, 30 bids were placed, and 13 million kilowatt-hours were traded at an average price of 26.4 kopeks ($0.008).

The market is initially limited to trading 5 percent to 15 percent of the country's power output.

Gazprom Gets $1.4Bln

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Gazprom agreed to accept $1.4 billion of bonds from Ukraine to settle debts the country owed for gas supplies, Interfax reported from Kiev on Friday, citing Yury Boiko, head of Ukraine's Naftogaz Ukrainy.

Naftogaz is Ukraine's state-run gas company.

Naftogaz will consider transferring the bonds to Gazprom on Nov. 3, Boiko told Interfax. The company had earlier issued the bonds, which mature between 2004 and 2013 and pay interest 1 percentage point higher than the London interbank-offered rate, only for Gazprom to decline to accept them, Interfax said.

Gazprom last year pulled out of an agreement to settle Ukraine's debts on concern that accepting payment in bonds would incur extra Russian tax charges.

Gazprom to Sell Tiles

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Gazprombank, a bank owned by Gazprom, will sell a majority stake in a Hungarian tile maker to Lasselsberger Holding International GmbH, an Austrian maker of building materials.

Gazprombank's Hungarian unit, AEB Rt., sold a 28.24 percent stake in Zalakeramia to Lasselsberger for an undisclosed price and will sell 28.04 percent for 3.5 billion forint ($16 million), or 2350 forint per share in the first half of next year, Zalakeramia said on the web site on the Budapest Stock Exchange.

Zalakeramia in June said it will spend as much as 25 million euros ($29 million) by 2005 to expand capacity as it aims to sell its products in Russia, where rising home construction is boosting demand.

LUKoil in Hungary

LONDON (Bloomberg) -- LUKoil plans to spend $120 million to set up a network of gas stations and storage facilities in Hungary, the weekly HVG reported Friday, citing the head of the company's local unit.

LUKoil plans to add about 100 filling stations and two or three fuel storage sites in Hungary during the next 2 1/2 years, adding to its network of 275 stations in Eastern Europe, said Ciornii Nicolae, chief executive of LUKoil Downstream Magyarorszag Kft.

LUKoil will compete with Hungary's Mol, Royal Dutch/Shell and Austria's OMV.