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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Yukos Manager Shot

MOSCOW (MT) -- Farit Gazimov, 57, the general director of Irkutskterminal, was killed Wednesday in Angarsk in the Irkutsk region, Interfax reported.

He was shot in the head on the steps of his apartment building leaving for work, the regional Interior Ministry said. The nature of the murder suggests it was a contract killing. The suspect got away, although witnesses reported they saw no sign of an escape car.

Irkutskterminal is an oil product terminal of No. 2 oil major Yukos.

Energy Lags GDP Rise

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass)-- Production growth in the energy sector from 2004-06 is predicted to be lower than gross domestic product growth, Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Wednesday.

Dvorkovich estimated annual growth in the energy sector at 5 percent in the period while annual GDP growth is seen at 5.6 percent. He said energy sector growth depends more on foreign demand than domestic consumption.

From 2004-06, he said, the chemical and petrochemical, food, construction and machine building sectors should develop the fastest, while after 2007 the forestry, light industry and ferrous metal sectors should grow more quickly.

SUAL Gets Nadvoitsy

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The shareholders of No. 8 aluminum smelter, Nadvoitsy, have approved its full integration into the country's second-biggest aluminum producer, SUAL, the group said Wednesday.

SUAL currently controls 92 percent of Nadvoitsy, which produced around 74,000 metric tons of aluminum last year.

Chechens Forge Dollars

MOSCOW (MT) -- Chechnya remains the main source of counterfeit dollars in Russia, an Interior Ministry official was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying.

Sergei Skvortsov said counterfeit dollar notes made in Chechnya are first used to pay rebels and then circulated in Russia. "Whereas before the share of counterfeit dollar notes of Chechen origin was as high as 30 percent of the overall amount, now it has dwindled to 19 percent," he said.

Riga on Ventspils

RIGA, Latvia (Prime-Tass) -- Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga said Wednesday it would be inadvisable to sell 100 percent in Baltic Sea oil terminal Ventspils Nafta.

"Latvia should keep a certain stake in the company as it is important to the country's economy," Vike-Freiberga said.

She said it would be useful if Russian companies participated in the terminal's work, adding that she "is not sure" this would help resume Russian oil exports via the terminal.

The Latvian government holds 38.6 percent in Ventspils Nafta, and only the government will decide to whom it will sell the stake, Vike-Freiberga said.

Mosenergo Debts Up

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Debts of companies and organizations funded by the federal budget to power utility Mosenergo have almost tripled from January to April to 630 million rubles ($20.5 million), the company said Wednesday.

The largest debtor is the Defense Ministry, the company said, whose debts stand at 360 million rubles.

Almaty's S&P Upgrade

LONDON (Prime-Tass) -- Standard & Poor's has raised its long-term foreign currency ratings for Kazakhstan to BB+ from BB, and its local currency ratings to BBB-/A-3 from BB+/B, the agency said Wednesday.

The upgrade reflects the sustained strengthening of Kazakhstan's economy, as well as prudent policies keeping the government's deficit and debt low. The B short-term foreign currency rating on Kazakhstan was affirmed. The outlook is stable.

Smelter Stake Sale

KIEV (Prime-Tass) -- Ukraine's State Property Fund will hold a tender for a 42.26 percent stake in the Dnepropetrovsk-based Petrovsky smelter in 30 days, the fund said Wednesday.

The starting price for the stake is set at 89.7 million hryvnas (about $168,000), the fund said. The winner of the tender will be required to upgrade the plant and introduce new technologies at its production facilities. The total assets of the smelter are estimated at 1.5 billion hryvnas, while the charter capital stands at 212.3 million hryvnas.

Nuclear Fuel for Kiev

KIEV (Prime-Tass) -- Ukraine plans to buy $280 million worth of nuclear fuel this year to reload all the 13 functioning power units of its nuclear plants, said Vladimir Komarov, an official with Ukraine's national nuclear power company, Energoatom.

Russia's TVEL, a state-run nuclear industry engineering and manufacturing holding, trades with Ukraine only on advance payment terms, and Energoatom has already transferred $100 million and received nuclear fuel for four power units.

$12Bln China Trade

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Russia-China trade turnover rose 30 percent on the year from January to April, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said during his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday.

Kasyanov did not provide the absolute figure for January to April but said 2002 turnover was $12 billion and had doubled over the last three years.

He said Russia is "satisfied" with its cooperation with China and that Hu's visit to Russia will boost development in both Russia and China.

Pension Assets Up 27%

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Non-state pension funds' own assets rose 27 percent on the year to 81.2 billion rubles ($2.6 billion) from January to March, Labor Ministry official Vyacheslav Batayev said Wednesday.

He said the pension reserves of non-state pension funds increased to 55.9 billion rubles in the period from 51.6 billion rubles as of January 1.

Batayev said 65 non-state funds with reserves exceeding 50 million rubles each hold 99.4 percent of all pension reserves, while accounting for just 23 percent of the total number of non-state pension funds. He also said 28 pension funds with reserves exceeding 200 million rubles each hold 91 percent of all pension reserves.

Odessa-Brody Launch

KIEV (Prime-Tass) -- Shipment of Caspian oil via the Odessa-Brody pipeline will begin in November or December, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Haiduk said Wednesday.

Initially, up to 4 million metric tons of oil per year is expected to be supplied to refineries in the Czech Republic and southern Germany, Haiduk said.

Tax on PSA Projects

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The Federation Council on Wednesday approved a bill to amend the section of the Tax Code that regulates the taxation of projects developed under production-sharing agreements.

Under the amendments, PSA terms require that: first, for all deposits eligible for PSA development, PSAs can only be concluded after an auction for development of a deposit under the usual terms has been voided because of lack of bids. All deposits must first be put up for auction under the usual terms; Second, the state's share of the total output in PSA projects developed under the terms of direct sharing cannot be less than 32 percent; and Third, the state's share of output can be increased in cases of a higher level of investment effectiveness. The level of investment effectiveness is set by agreement.

The bill has yet to be signed by President Vladimir Putin

Rosbank Exports Up

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Rosbank plans to increase its gold exports to 30 metric tons this year, a bank representative said Wednesday.

Last year, the bank received 17 metric tons of gold from its suppliers. Rosbank's increased activity on the precious metals market is backed up by its long-term cooperation agreement with Russia's largest gold producer, Polyus.

According to the agreement, Polyus is to sell Rosbank 15 metric tons of gold in 2003, part of the deal to supply a total of 26 metric tons before mid-2004.

Oslo: No OPEC Cut

OSLO, Norway (Reuters) -- OPEC is likely to hold off on new production cuts until it sees how fast Iraq is stepping up output, Norwegian Oil and Energy Minister Einar Steensnaes said Wednesday after talks with his Iranian counterpart, Bijan Zanganeh.

OPEC ministers have already signaled their intention to consider further output cuts to accommodate Iraq at a June 11 meeting.