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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Yukos Stalls Results

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Yukos said Wednesday it would delay publishing its financial results for 2003 after a Moscow court upheld a $3.4 billion back-tax claim against the firm.

"We have to postpone publication of our U.S. GAAP consolidated financial statements for the year 2003," CFO Bruce Misamore said in a statement.

"The main reason for the delay is the decision of the Moscow appeal arbitration court made yesterday, which should be reflected in our financial report," he said.

Reforms 'On Track'

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The government does not expect delays in its plans to reform two key monopolies, power utility Unified Energy Systems (UES) and gas giant Gazprom, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Wednesday.

Gref said last week's decision to postpone a decision on how to sell UES' generators did not mean slowing down the reform in general.

Also last week, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller disappointed the market by failing to name a date for the removal of a dual system under which foreigners are only allowed to deal in Gazprom's American Depositary Shares which trade at a huge premium to locally traded stock.

But Gref said the government still intended to liberalize the market in Gazprom shares before the end of 2004. "Our plans remain the same -- the liberalization is planned before the year ends," he said.

Car Giants 'Coming'

YAROSLAVL (Prime-Tass) -- Four or five of the world's biggest automakers will launch assembly lines in Russia in 2004-2005, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref told a regional investment forum Wednesday.

"At least two of the world's leading automakers will come to Russia this year, and we are expecting two or three more investors in 2005," Gref said.

He did not name the companies, but he said they were German and Japanese.

Japan's Toyota, Germany's Volkswagen and the Czech Skoda, now part of Volkswagen, have expressed interest in producing in Russia. Ford, GM, BMW, Renault, KIA and Hyundai are all already in Russia.

LUKoil Buys Out Eni

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- LUKoil agreed to buy Italian energy giant Eni's stake in a joint venture that is developing oil and gas fields in Egypt and Azerbaijan.

LUKoil will buy Eni's 50 percent holding in LukAgip in the third quarter, LUKoil said in the statement. The company did not say how much it would pay for the stake, held by Eni's Agip unit.

LUKAgip owns 10 percent of the Statoil-led $3.2 billion Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan, which may hold 1 trillion cubic meters of gas, enough to supply Western Europe for two years. LUKoil said in April it would either exit the venture or raise its stake.

LUKAgip also holds 24 percent of the Meleiha oil field in Egypt, which has 35.3 million barrels of proved oil reserves, and 10 percent of the South Caucasus Pipeline Co.

LUKoil Sale in Q3

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia is likely to sell its remaining 7.6 percent stake in oil major LUKoil in the third quarter, after Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov approves the sale later this week, a top Cabinet official said Wednesday.

"It is likely to happen in the third quarter," Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said. He said that the stake would be offered in one lot.

The sale is set to become the largest privatization deal this year as it is worth $1.7 billion at the firm's current market capitalization of $22.4 billion.

TV Ad Rates Jump

MOSCOW (MT) -- Television ad rates will grow by roughly a quarter next year, according to a new price list sent out by ad giant Video International, Kommersant reported Wednesday.

Video International, which handles roughly 70 percent of all television ad sales in the country, generated an estimated $1 billion in revenues last year.

Prices for state-controlled national networks Channel One and Rossiya will grow 22 percent and 28 percent respectively, to $7,300 per gross rating point. Rates for second-tier stations STS and Ren-TV will jump 28 percent and 31 percent to $6,900 and $6,700.

Norsk St. Pete Plant

OSLO (Bloomberg) -- Norsk Hydro, the world's third-largest publicly traded aluminum company, said it will build a plant in Russia making light-metal building parts to take advantage of increasing construction activity in the area.

Hydro's Aluminum Profiler unit expects the extrusion and processing plant outside St. Petersburg to be operational in the second quarter of next year, the Norwegian company said in a statement on its web site Wednesday. The factory will make aluminum profiles used by the construction industry.

"This market is growing rapidly," said Johnny Undeli, a regional manager at Norsk Hydro.

$6Bln in Debt Bonds

LONDON (Reuters) -- Germany will issue credit-linked Russian notes worth around 5 billion euros ($6.1 billion) to private investors, more than originally expected by the market, a source familiar with the deal said Wednesday.

This deal securitizes more than a third of the 14 billion euros worth of sovereign debt Russia owes to Germany as part of the Paris Club agreement. The deal will help plug a hole in Germany's budget.

Brazil Meat Ban Eases

BRASILIA, Brazil (Reuters) -- Russia partially suspended a ban on Brazilian meat imports, Brazil's Agriculture Minister Roberto Rodrigues said Wednesday.

Rodrigues confirmed a statement from Russia's Agriculture Ministry on Friday that it was resuming meat imports from all Brazilian states except for Para and Mato Grosso.

Russia, a major buyer of Brazilian meat, banned imports from Brazil on June 18 following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the northern state of Para.

For the Record

No. 2 cellular operator VimpelCom said Wednesday that it had bought Far East GSM operator Dal Telecom for $73.3 million, giving the phone giant a license to operate in the only region where it had not yet set up shop. (MT)