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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

RusAl's BNP Loan

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- BNP Paribas has granted a two-year $20 million credit to Russia's top aluminum producer Russian Aluminum to finance exports of flat rolled aluminum, the company said Wednesday.

"The BNP Paribas credit facility represents a significant achievement, as it is our first loan raised on the international markets to finance the rolling part of our business," corporate finance director Oleg Mukhamedshin said in a statement.

RusAl is an unlisted company owned 50-50 by tycoon Oleg Deripaska's firm Base Element and core shareholders of oil company Sibneft.

On Monday RusAl said it had secured a two-year, $200 million credit from a group of Western banks to finance production of primary aluminum.

$1.81Bln in Debt Paid

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Vneshekonombank, or VEB, the government's foreign debt agent, said Wednesday that it had transferred $1.812 billion to the Paris Club of creditors to meet the country's liabilities due in August.

Russia had to service foreign debt worth a total of $2.1 billion this month. The Central Bank had said August's bunching of foreign debt payments may dent its gold and foreign currency reserves by some two billion dollars.

The payments to the Paris Club were made from August 14 to August 20 in nine currencies, VEB said in a statement.

TNK-BP Awaits

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The Anti-Monopoly Ministry said Wednesday that it plans to decide on whether to allow oil major BP to merge its Russian assets with local oil firm TNK before Aug. 29.

The decision is seen as the last move BP needs to complete the largest corporate transaction in Russia and become a half-owner of the country's third-largest oil producer.

The European Union and Ukrainian anti-trust bodies have previously approved the deal, which they said represented no threat to the sector.

Regional Jet Funds

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Snecma SA, France's maker of military and civil aircraft engines, plans to invest 230 million euros ($256 million) in Russia to develop a new regional aircraft that will fly by 2007, said Jean-Pierre Cojan, the executive vice president at Snecma's commercial engines division.

Snecma in April signed an agreement with Russian engine maker NPO Saturn and planemaker OKB Sukhoi's civil aviation division to develop the jet. Cojan was speaking at the Moscow air show.

Snecma and Saturn will jointly develop an engine to power a plane built and designed primarily by Moscow-based Sukhoi, which builds fighter jets, with participation from Boeing Co.

Tatneft to Cut Costs

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Tatneft, Russia's sixth-largest oil producer, plans annual reductions in operating costs of 10 percent and increases in extraction of 1 percent as it tries to maintain output from depleted fields.

Crude output rose 1.2 percent to 14.3 million tons (579,000 barrels per day) in the first half of the year, up from the same period last year, said Tatneft in an e-mailed statement.

Tatneft "plans to shut unprofitable wells, optimize other spending and sell assets" not involved in oil production or marketing, the statement said. "The freed funds will be spent on geological-technical measures to boost oil output productivity."

Tatneft was a pioneer of the former Soviet Union's oil industry in central Russia, before west Siberian reserves were discovered in the 1970s. It is now pumping oil at some fields that are 60 years old. Closing low-yielding wells should improve average flow and make the company cost reduction target even more realistic, Aton brokerage said in an e-mailed report.

Oil Majors Eye Turkey

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- No. 6 oil major Tatneft said Wednesday that it was considering bidding for Turkish largest refiner Tupras, one of the biggest consumers of Tatneft crude oil.

Tatneft's statement quoted firm head Chafagat Takhautdinov as saying the firm could bid for a 60 percent stake in Tupras together with another oil company. The statement gave no other details.

No. 3 oil firm TNK, which is in the process of merging its assets with oil major BP, said in April that it was also looking at acquiring refining assets in Turkey.

Turkey plans to complete collecting bids for Tupras, which controls 87 percent of the country's refining market, in October. The sale is seen as a key deal in Turkey's privatization plan aimed at raising revenues to help handle a massive domestic debt within IMF-backed budgetary constraints.

The new deal means that Tatneft will export from the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk to Turkey more than 70 percent of its total exports and more than one fifth of its 500,000 bpd output.

U.S. Wins SOCAR Job

BAKU, Azerbaijan (Reuters) -- Azeri state oil firm SOCAR said Wednesday that it had awarded a tender for one 140,000 ton Urals cargo for lifting from the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk to U.S. Sempra Energy.

A SOCAR official said the cargo was preliminarily scheduled to load Sept. 28-29.

Last week, SOCAR awarded a tender to lift an 80,000 ton cargo of Urals crude from Novorossiisk in mid-September to U.S. ChevronTexaco.

The official said SOCAR also planned to tender a million-barrel cargo of Azeri light crude for lifting from the Georgian Black Sea port of Supsa in the beginning of September.

SOCAR exported 2.5 million tons (18.3 million barrels) of crude oil via Novorossiisk in 2002. Volumes are set to stay flat in 2003.

SOCAR exports its crude from two ports -- Novorossiisk and Supsa.

In Russia, SOCAR's crude is mixed with Russia's main crude export blend Urals. From Supsa, SOCAR exports sweet Azeri light grade as part of the Azeri state's production sharing in a BP-led Caspian Sea offshore project.

Tinkoff Swaps Sellers

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Tinkoff microbrewery has chosen a new firm to import its beer to the United States, the company said Wednesday in a statement.

The fashionable brewery, founded by businessman Oleg Tinkoff in 1998, will be working in the future with BMC Imports.

Previously Tinkoff Beer Co. Inc. had distributed 350,000 0.33 liter bottles of its Russian Pilsner on the U.S. market, as part of a contract it began in September 2000.

The first delivery of 34,500 bottles for the new distributor was made in May 2003 and Tinkoff predicted that BMC imports would sell 70,000 bottles a month in the imported beer segment for a price similar to that of Corona and Heineken.