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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

$161Bln Tax Take

MOSCOW (MT) -- Tax revenues soared 26 percent last year to a record 4.506 trillion rubles ($161 billion), the Federal Tax Service said in a statement Tuesday.

In 2003, tax authorities collected 3.636 trillion rubles ($130 billion), the service said.

No Debt Rush

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Finance Ministry gave further details of its domestic debt program Tuesday, but with the country planning a $10 billion budget surplus this year it said issuance remained conservative.

"We take into consideration that for several years in a row we have had a budget surplus. In these circumstances we do not need significant debt issues," said Alexander Chumachenko, a senior official in the ministry's debt department.

Russia's 2005 budget allows for a surplus of 1.5 percent of gross domestic product -- but analysts warn that this will shrink after plans to raise pensions after protests against scrapping free benefits for the elderly.

EU Enters Dairy Feud

WARSAW (Bloomberg) -- European Union officials have agreed to intervene on Poland's behalf in a trade dispute that has seen Russia refusing to accept imports of most Polish dairy products, the daily Rzeczpospolita reported Tuesday.

Economy Minister Jerzy Hausner discussed the issue with EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, who promised to talk to Russia on what the Poles have called artificial barriers to trade with its eastern neighbors, the paper said.

Russian veterinary inspectors completed an investigation of Polish food plants last November but have since allowed only two of them, both belonging to the Polish unit of Danone, to export to Russia, the paper said.

Russian Bonds Upgrade

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Russian Eurobonds rose to a record Tuesday after Lehman Brothers added ratings from Fitch Ratings to its calculation of creditworthiness, indicating the country's debt may be included in the bank's "investment grade" category.

Under the new method, Lehman will assign each security the middle rating from Fitch, Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's. The change takes effect July 1.

Russia's 5 percent bond maturing in 2030 advanced 0.7 percent to 104.75, cutting the yield 8.6 basis points to 6.306 percent, a record low. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

Beer Baron in Fashion

MOSCOW (MT) -- Taimuraz Bolloyev, the former head of Russia's top brewer, Baltika, bought a controlling stake in St. Petersburg fashion house Fabrika Odezhdy Sankt Peterburga, or FOSP, Vedomosti reported Tuesday.

Bolloyev became the company's largest shareholder at the end of December, FOSP general director Vladimir Mikheev told the paper.

FOSP's revenues totaled $20 million last year, and 30 percent of its products were exported. Analysts estimated Bolloyev's stake to be worth around $20 million. Bolloyev, who headed Baltika from 1991 to the end of last year, declined to comment on the deal.

Pipe Giant Eyes U.S.

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- TMK, one of the world's biggest pipe producers, plans to boost production further this year and diversify sales by focusing more on exports to the U.S. market, its general director said Tuesday.

Dmitry Pumpyansky said his company, which started selling products to U.S. oil and gas clients last year, planned to more than triple pipe supplies to North America this year to 50,000 tons from around 15,000 tons in 2004.

Rosneft in RZD Talks

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Rosneft, which took over Yukos' largest oil unit, is seeking lower transport fees before it will start selling oil to China via rail, Russian Railways Co., or RZD, said Tuesday.

Russia will ship 530,000 tons of oil and oil products to China in February, RZD first vice president Vladimir Yakunin said. The rail company will ship a total of 8 million tons of oil and oil product exports next month.

Yukos and LUKoil, Russia's biggest oil producer, will each ship 250,000 tons to China and Sibneft will supply 30,000 tons, Yakunin said at a news conference.

Murmansk Oil Export

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Murmansk Sea Trade Port, the country's largest Arctic oil port, plans to boost exports of crude oil and oil products to Europe and the United States by as much as 60 percent this year because companies are pumping more oil in the region.

The port plans to load 8 million to 10 million tons (200,000 barrels per day) of fuel this year, up from 6.3 million tons last year, Sergei Didenko, the first deputy head of the port administration, said Tuesday.