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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

MTS Nets $1.4Bln

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The country's top mobile operator, Mobile TeleSystems, said Tuesday that preliminary net revenues for 2002 jumped to $1.36 billion from $893.2 million in 2001.

The mobile operator said in the fourth quarter that revenues rose to $410 million from $388.5 million the previous quarter and $258.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2001.

Each of its clients was generating $21.2 per month during the fourth quarter, a drop from $25.2 in the third quarter.

Finalizing TNK-BP

PARIS (Reuters) -- Oil major BP will finalize an agreement to buy a 50 percent stake in No. 3 oil firm TNK on June 26 during President Vladimir Putin's visit to London, an Energy Ministry official said Tuesday in Paris.

BP agreed in February to buy the stake for $6.75 billion from TNK's main shareholders, Alfa Group and Access/Renova, in the biggest foreign investment of the post-Soviet era.

"The merger between TNK and BP will be formed as a treaty during the state visit of Putin to Britain between June 24 and 27," said Alexei Turbin, head of the Energy Ministry's department for foreign economic relations.

He said Russian and British energy ministers were planning an energy cooperation conference on June 26 at Lancaster House in London, to be attended by all major British and Russian companies.

Alrosa Bond Sales

LONDON (Reuters) -- Diamond producer Alrosa has sold $500 million of its planned five-year dollar bonds with an 8.125 percent coupon at a price of 98.996, a yield of 8.375, lead managers ING Barings said Tuesday.

Officials for the company completed a roadshow of investor presentations on Monday in London. The bond's yield was at the lower end of the range published by ING on Monday. This suggests demand was at the upper end of initial expectations, even after the bond had been increased in size.

In March, the company told reporters it wanted to issue a $300 million international bond in April, and had mandated ING Bank to act on its behalf.

Standard and Poor's rated Alrosa's proposed issue at B. Moody's Investors Service, S&P's rival, rated the company at B3, one notch lower in its scale.

Both these ratings are well within the speculative grade, or "junk," ratings range, which restricts issuers to a narrow range of potential buyers.

Yusufov Talks in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) -- The head of the International Energy Agency and Energy Minister Igor Yusufov held bilateral talks Tuesday as part of developing relations between the Paris-based watchdog and nonmember countries, officials said.

Yusufov is attending this week's IEA ministerial meeting, marking the first time a country that is not a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the IEA's parent body, has attended the biennial session.

"It was an opportunity to discuss a program of cooperation," an IEA spokesman said of brief talks between IEA chief executive Claude Mandil and Yusufov on the sidelines of the plenary session.

He said the meeting followed a cooperation accord signed March 31 between the IEA and Russia in Moscow.

Rosneft Takes Hold

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- State oil firm Rosneft said Tuesday it had appointed the chairman of Anglo Siberian and fully controlled the board only a day after saying it would buy the firm.

A Rosneft spokesman said his firm had initiated a meeting to re-elect the Anglo Siberian board after some 97.46 percent of Anglo Siberian shareholders had agreed Monday to accept Rosneft's bid and sell their shares at 100 pence each or ?46.3 million ($73.70 million) for the entire firm, which has big oil reserves in Siberia.

The spokesman said that among five Anglo Siberian board members, three now represented Rosneft's interests, including new Anglo Siberian chairman and Rosneft first vice president Nikolai Borisenko.

News of Rosneft's bid for Anglo Siberian in early April came as a shock to French oil major TotalFinaElf, which has been negotiating a deal to develop Anglo Siberian's giant Vankor field for more than a year.

The French company said later it had very good relationship with Rosneft and hoped the two firms could develop Vankor together.

Rosneft is Russia's eighth-largest and last big state-owned oil company.

MTS JV in Belarus

MINSK, Belarus (Prime-Tass) -- A Mobile TeleSystems joint venture has launched a GSM 900/1800 network based in the Belarussian city of Gomel, an MTS official in its Minsk branch said Tuesday.

MTS has installed 11 base stations in Gomel. MTS launched its network in Belarus last June and claimed 66,500 subscribers in the country as of March 1, 2003.

MTS and Belarussian long-distance operator Mezhdugorodnaya Svyaz hold 49 percent and 51 percent stakes in the joint venture, respectively.

Baltika Warehouses

ST. PETERSBURG (Prime-Tass) -- Top brewer Baltika plans to launch five warehouses in five different cities before the end of the summer, the company's press service reported Tuesday.

The warehouses, costing from $2 million to $4 million each, will be built in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Ufa and Lermontov in the Stavropol region.

The construction of the warehouses is part of Baltika's program to boost its quality control, cut costs and develop sales infrastructure.

The company also has plans to build similar warehouses in Moscow and Irkutsk in the future.

$328M Gazprom Sales

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Gazprom and its subsidiaries generated 10.2 billion rubles ($328 million) in revenues from selling noncore assets in 2002, above its target of 9 billion rubles, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

In 2003, the company plans to sell noncore assets worth 6 billion rubles ($193 million).

WBD Drops Plant

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Top juice and dairy maker Wimm-Bill-Dann will not build a milk plant in Gorelovo in the Leningrad region, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The company said it had considered various plans to set up the production of dairy products in the northwest since November 2001.

Last August, WBD bought a 100 percent stake in St. Petersburg-based manufacturer Roska, which owns a milk processing plant with a capacity of 500 metric tons of milk per day.

The company said it decided that after reconstructing Roska, it would not need another.

Gordeyev Heads to U.S.

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said Tuesday he hoped a long-running dispute with the United States over poultry trade would be finally settled by U.S. producers adopting Russian safety demands.

"Our veterinarians have inspected many poultry farms [in the United States], and we think that a significant number … now correspond to our standards," Gordeyev told reporters a day before flying to the United States.

Gordeyev will discuss U.S. poultry producers' compliance with Russian veterinary requirements.

Last year, Moscow banned U.S. poultry exports over safety concerns. U.S. industry officials said the meat was safe and that Russia was erecting unfair barriers to protect its own poultry farmers.

Following weeks of intensive talks, the exports resumed, with Washington agreeing to adopt new, tougher veterinary certificates and to admit Russian inspectors to its farms.

Moscow has established a June 1 deadline for completing inspection of farms. But inspections stopped last November after disagreements arose over health standards in the two countries.

Earlier this month, Moscow and Washington said they had managed to resolve the differences, and inspections resumed.

Gordeyev said that during his visit he intends to discuss with major farm machinery makers John Deere & Co. and CNH Global NV about setting up joint ventures in Russia.

He also intends to discuss cooperation with the United States in developing technologies to produce genetically modified crops.

"It is necessary to develop science in this sector so that Russia is not left behind."

Gordeyev will also go to Canada during his two-week trip. There he will have talks with Canadian officials and address a conference on food security.