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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

BasEl Resignation

MOSCOW (MT) -- State Duma deputy Konstantin Remchukov has stepped down from the post of consultant to Oleg Deripaska's industrial group Base Element after revealing plans by tycoon Roman Abramovich's Millhouse Capital to sell its stake in the Ruspromavto auto industry holding, in which Deripaska also owns a stake.

Remchukov, who is a member of the Union of Right Forces' Duma faction, announced his resignation from the post of chairman of Base Element's scientific-consultative council in a statement released Tuesday.

He could not be reached by phone and his aide Olga Sysoyeva declined to comment on whether Remchukov quit over revealing the Ruspromavto deal.

Stillwater a Done Deal

WASHINGTON (AFP) -- Montana-based Stillwater Mining Co. said its stockholders have approved the company's acquisition by Norilsk Nickel, adding that the proposed deal had also been given the green light by the Federal Trade Commission.

"The board of directors is pleased that the shareholders approved the agreement and welcomes the Norilsk Nickel investment," Stillwater's chairman said in a statement Tuesday, after 82.9 percent of shareholders voted in favor of the transaction.

When the transaction is complete, Norilsk will hold 51 percent of Stillwater in newly issued shares, in exchange for $100 million in cash and approximately 877,000 ounces of palladium. Norilsk expects the deal to be wrapped up later this month.

Sakhalin-1 Contracts

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- An Exxon Mobil-led group developing massive oil fields on Sakhalin said Tuesday it had awarded oil transportation deals worth a total of up to $600 million to two Russian shipping firms.

The announcement came after the group, which works in Russia under a rare production-sharing agreement, was heavily criticized by authorities for ignoring local contractors.

"With a new contract awarded, the value of contracts awarded to Russian companies within the Sakhalin-1 project exceeded $2 billion," the group said in a statement.

Under the deal, shipping firms Sovcomflot and Prisco will operate five ice-class tankers with a dead weight of over 100,000 metric tons to ship the crude from Russia's Far East to Japan, Korea and other markets.

"Depending on the production profile of the Sakhalin fields, the value of the contract will range between $400 million and $600 million," the statement said.

The Exxon-led consortium, which includes Japanese group SODECO, India's ONGC and Rosneft, plans to spend $12 billion on the development of the Sakhalin-1 project, containing 2.3 billion barrels of oil.

Kaliningrad Flights

MOSCOW (MT) -- Flagship carrier Aeroflot will run four daily flights to Kaliningrad by the end of the month, the company said in a statement.

The flights will be operated with Tu-154Ms and are being introduced due to tighter Lithuanian visa rules that will take effect July 1, complicating travel for residents of the Kaliningrad exclave.

Aeroflot fares are expected to rival train tickets, with the roundtrip ticket selling for 990 rubles, while a single ticket will cost 750 rubles and 950 rubles to Moscow and Kaliningrad, respectively.

Sibir Wins Paris Prize

MOSCOW (MT) -- No. 2 airline Sibir won the 2003 Flight International aerospace industry award at the Paris Air Show late Monday, making it the first Russian company to receive the honor.

Sibir beat out General Electric Aircraft Engines and Virgin Blue Airways in the nomination for corporate strategy.

"All the winners and finalists this year, judged by an independent panel of international aviation experts, have demonstrated innovation, clever use of technology, efficiency and resourcefulness," Flight Group editor Kieran Daly said in a statement.

Domodedovo Airport was shortlisted for an infrastructure and environmental award but lost out to Boeing Co.

Ukraine's Kharkiv aircraft manufacturer was also nominated in the category of air transport.

Lower FDI Barriers

MOSCOW (MT) -- The government will work to eliminate the hurdles and problems that foreign companies confront in Russia, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov told reporters in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, Interfax reported

This issue will be discussed at an economic forum in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, and in his meetings with representatives of foreign companies the next day, he said, adding that chiefs of many foreign companies investing in Russia are attending the economic forum in St. Petersburg this year.

"The government will work on eliminating all the hurdles and problems such companies are facing in Russia," Kasyanov was quoted as saying.