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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Alrosa Nets $335M

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- State-owned Alrosa, producer of a quarter of the world's diamonds, plans to increase its sales of diamond products to $2.2 billion in 2004 from $1.8 billion last year, it said Monday.

Net profit jumped to 10.1 billion rubles ($354.6 million) in 2003 from 6.47 billion rubles a year earlier, Alrosa said in a statement.

It said 2004 capital expenditure would be 12.9 billion rubles compared with last year's 11.3 billion rubles.

Russia, one of the world's largest territories for diamond mining, has drawn attention from De Beers and BHP Billiton in recent months.

Media have reported that Alrosa seeks to cooperate with foreign firms in exploration, but the firms have been tight-lipped on the matter

New Sakhalin Deal

LONDON (Reuters) -- Energy major Royal Dutch/Shell is close to an agreement to sell liquefied natural gas from its huge Sakhalin project in the Far East to a Japanese utility in a deal that would be the scheme's fifth sales contract with Japan, a company official said.

"We expect another announcement in the very near future. Four Japanese customers have committed, and we are in discussions with five other big Japanese utilities," Peter de Wit, regional business director for Asia Pacific at Shell, said on the sidelines of a recent energy conference in Qatar.

De Wit declined to name potential buyers for fuel from the $10 billion Sakhalin liquefied natural gas project that is due to start production in 2007.

Earlier this month, Shell-led Sakhalin Energy said it had signed a 23-year sales agreement with Japanese refiner Toho Gas. Other Japanese buyers so far are Kyushu Electric, Tokyo Gas and Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Mechel Buys Key Port

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Mechel Steel Group raised its stake in a port on the Pacific coast to 80 percent, Interfax reported Monday, citing a company statement.

Mechel bought shares in Posyet from shareholders including the Siberian Coal and Energy Company, or SUEK, Interfax reported. The steel group in February bought a stake in Posyet from SUEK, Interfax had said, without giving the size of the stake.

Posyet, which is located on the Sea of Japan, will allow Mechel to increase shipments of its products to Japan and boost shipments to China and North Korea by railroads that are linked to the port, the news service said.

Tatarstan Eurobond

MILAN, Italy (Reuters) -- The republic of Tatarstan is considering a eurobond worth 100 million euros ($122 million) to 300 million euros to finance construction of new homes and invest in local small and medium-sized companies, the republic's prime minister said Monday.

"The region is planning to place a eurobond. [The timing] depends on the market," Rustam Minnikhanov said.

The federal government is considering a eurobond issue in the next few months to refinance debt, tapping foreign capital markets for the first time since the 1998 financial crisis.