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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Duma Against PSAs

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The State Duma on Wednesday backed a government plan to effectively scrap production sharing agreements, in a move analysts said could deter foreign investors.

The lower house approved the bill in the second and most important of the three readings required for approval, saying the normal tax regime was already stable enough for investors.

Analysts said it was unclear how many deals, signed with oil majors such as BP, ConocoPhillips and ENI, had real chances of survival.

PSAs give investors a predictable tax regime for the life of a project in countries perceived as volatile.

The government and many domestic oil firms say the regular tax regime has become more predictable in recent years, enabling global majors to invest in Russia without tax exemptions.

5% '03 GDP Growth?

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The Economic Development and Trade Ministry said Wednesday it was sticking to a gross domestic product growth forecast of 4.5 percent for 2003 but said the economy may grow faster if oil prices stay above $24 per barrel this year.

"At this point our forecast remains at 4.5 percent and we are looking at a growth rate range of 4.3 percent to 5 percent," Deputy Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told reporters.

"If the price for Brent crude remains at $24 to $25 per barrel, it is quite possible that GDP growth may come in at 5 percent," he said.

Program Tweaked

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The government has made significant corrections to its medium-term program for the country's social and economic development and submitted the program to President Vladimir Putin, Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Wednesday.

Changes were made regarding administration reform, court reform and legislation on natural resources, Dvorkovich said.

Alrosa Seeks $300M

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Diamond producer Alrosa said Wednesday it plans to borrow $300 million this year or next to refinance its outstanding debt, just weeks after it successfully placed a five-year $500 million eurobond.

Bank Data for Courts

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The Constitutional Court has ruled that court marshals are entitled to demand that banks provide data on their clients' accounts only if the client has been ordered by the courts to pay a debt, Itar-Tass reported Wednesday.

The ruling says that only this interpretation of the law on court marshals can both protect the privacy of deposits and serve the interests of justice.

IT Consolidation

MOSCOW (MT) -- Leading IT company Lanit said Wednesday that it had bought 70 percent in DPI, a computer and printing company.

The acquisition will make Lanit one of Russia's top four IT companies, according to various analysts.