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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Severnaya Neft Peace

MOSCOW (MT) -- Oil majors LUKoil and Rosneft said Tuesday they have resolved their conflicts over ownership rights to a number of oil fields in northern Russia.

LUKoil said in a statement that the two companies had signed a memorandum of understanding "setting out the basic principles of cooperation in the oil-rich province of Timan-Pechora and ways to restructure their assets in this region."

Rosneft earlier this month paid $600 million to buy Severnaya Neft, which holds a license to develop 15 oil and gas fields in Timan-Pechora and the Nenets and Komi regions. The fields have total recoverable reserves of 120 million metric tons, or 874 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Much of the reserves lie in the Val Gamburtseva fields, whose license LUKoil and Yukos have long contested.

$60M Heineken Suit

MOSCOW (MT) -- First Federation, once the exclusive distributor of Heineken beer in Russia, is taking the brewer to court for allegedly concealing plans to produce the brand locally as of mid-2003, First Federation said Monday.

The $60 million claim first will be heard in Amsterdam on March 3.

Heineken sold 1.2 million liters of Dutch-made Heineken beer in Russia in 2002, or 10 percent of all imported beer. It also owns the Bravo International brewery in St. Petersburg, which has a 5.2 percent market share of domestically produced beer.

Ruble Bond Issuers

Moscow (MT) -- By July 1, 2003, the Federal Securities Commission will approve amendments to current legislation that will allow international financial organizations to issue ruble-denominated securities, the commission's chairman, Igor Kostikov, said Tuesday, Interfax reported.

Kostikov added that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is likely to become the first international organization to issue ruble bonds in Russia. The government subsequently is to approve a list of international financial organizations whose securities will be allowed on the Russian market.

March 12 UES Debate

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The Federation Council will debate laws on electricity reform March 12, which is later than the government had hoped, an official on the industry committee said Tuesday.

Government officials had said last week the upper house would take up the bills Wednesday.

The packet of six draft laws clears the government to break up state utility Unified Energy Systems and launch free power trade.

15% TVS Stake Sold

MOSCOW (MT) -- United Heavy Machinery head Kakha Bendukidze and Vimpelcom founder Dmitry Zimin paid about $750,000 each for their 7.5 percent stakes in TVS television's management company, Shestoi Telekanal, Kommersant reported Tuesday, citing the company's chairman, Oleg Kiselyov, and TVS editor in chief Yevgeny Kiselyov.

Oleg Kiselyov denied reports that he will manage the two businessmen's stake, held in trust by an unidentified U.S. law firm, in addition to his own 7.5 percent stake.

The newspaper said, however, that the move may upset the delicate balance among the troubled channel's 12 shareholders. Those allied with Unified Energy Systems head Anatoly Chubais were pitted last year against those allied with Chukotka Governor Roman Abramovich.

DTV Tender Postponed

MOSCOW (MT) -- Citing the sickness of Press Minister Mikhail Lesin and some other members of the licensing commission, the Press Ministry on Tuesday postponed until March 5 a tender for the frequency currently used by the Swedish-controlled second-tier DTV channel.

This is the second time it has been postponed.

A bidder affiliated with government-controlled Channel One is seen as DTV's leading rival for the frequency.

Tax Reform on Hold?

MOSCOW (MT) -- Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has taken tax reform off the agenda of Thursday's Cabinet session, the government information department said, Interfax reported Tuesday.

According to a government source, the Cabinet had not received reports setting out planned tax reforms and estimating the effects of reforms, in particular the proposed decreases in value-added and unified social taxes, on business and the economy.

MTS Pursues UMC

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- No. 1 mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems is going ahead with the purchase of Ukrainian network UMC, a deal that had been held up by a lawsuit, MTS's biggest shareholder said Tuesday.

"All the aims are clear, and there is money to buy UMC," Vladimir Yevtushenkov, head of the Sistema holding, which owns over 40 percent of MTS, told reporters. "Everything is technically under way and on schedule. We are not behind."

In January, a Kiev court threw out a lawsuit challenging the Ukrainian government's decision to sell the state telecom monopoly's stake in UMC, the second-largest mobile firm in Ukraine. The plaintiff is appealing.

Alfa Blazes Retail Path

MOSCOW (MT) -- Alfa Bank is planning to launch an ambitious retail project in April to increase its market share from 2.3 percent to 2.7 percent by the end of 2003, the bank's president, Pyotr Aven, told reporters Tuesday.

The bank is first planning to open 10 retail outlets in Moscow, which will provide 24-hour financial services, including small-business loans. Over the next two years, Alfa Bank will open 100 retail offices across Russia.

Grain Exports' Fate

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) -- Harsh winter weather, a growing appetite for meat and uncertainty about rail tariff rates may conspire to reduce Russian grain exports in 2003-04, a leading Russian market analyst said Tuesday.

But former Soviet countries will continue to play a growing role in world grain export markets in the future, a panel on the emerging exports told the Grain World market outlook conference.

Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan will export 22 million to 23 million metric tons of wheat in 2003-04 according to the Canadian Wheat Board -- almost as much as the United States, the world's largest wheat exporter.

RenCap Ranked First

MOSCOW (MT) -- Renaissance Capital's research team, led by Roland Nash, was ranked No. 1 in Russia in the Institutional Investor's annual survey.

The investment bank surpassed Brunswick UBS Warburg, which held first place for the past three years after becoming the first domestic company to win the honor in 1998.

Brunswick UBS Warburg was second in the survey, the results of which were released Tuesday, followed by United Financial Group, Alfa Bank and Morgan Stanley.

MGTS Service Restored

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Moscow City Telephone Network, or MGTS, reconnected all 40,000 subscribers who experienced problems with telephone services after a fire broke out at a telephone station earlier this month, the company said in a statement Monday.

MGTS estimates the losses caused by the fire at 227 million rubles ($7.2 million).