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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Putin Inks IPO Changes

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday approved changes to securities regulations in a bid to make share sales easier and bring Russia's rules into line with international standards.

Putin signed amendments to laws on the securities markets, joint-stock companies and on protection of investor rights, the presidential press service said on its web site. The changes include new rules on initial public offerings, said Olga Kudinova, a spokeswoman for the Federal Service for Financial Markets, which proposed the rules.

The laws are part of an effort by the country's regulators to encourage companies to sell shares locally rather than go abroad. (Bloomberg)

1 Trillion Rubles in Loans

Russian consumer lending topped 1 trillion rubles ($34.7 billion) for the first time on Nov. 1 on demand for new apartments, cars and appliances, Vedomosti reported, citing Central Bank data.

More than half of all outstanding loans, 600 billion rubles, were issued in the first 10 months of the year, about twice as much as all of last year, the newspaper said. About half of all outstanding loans are for more than three years and were used mainly to buy apartments and cars, Vedomosti said. The mortgage market reached 99 billion rubles on Oct. 1, the paper said. (Bloomberg)

Ukraine-Russia Gas Talks

The energy ministers of Ukraine and Russia met in Moscow on Wednesday evening to try to resolve a spiraling dispute over the price of Russian gas exports to Ukraine.

Russia is threatening to cut off supplies within days unless Ukraine accepts demands to pay more than four times the current price for gas imports.

Earlier, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov denounced the Russian demands as unacceptable and "direct economic pressure against Ukraine," according to his office.

Following hours of uncertainty over his trip, Ukrainian Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov arrived after dark and began talks with his Russian counterpart, Viktor Khristenko, news agencies said.

"We'll reach a deal," RIA-Novosti quoted Plachkov as saying. "Everything will be fine." (AP)

Svyaz Sale to Yield $3.3Bln

Russia expects to take in at least $3.3 billion in its planned sale of a stake of almost 75 percent in national telecoms holding Svyazinvest, the head of the state's privatization agency said on Wednesday.

Officials had earlier said they expected to get $2.7 billion, but shares in companies that constitute Svyazinvest have risen sharply this year on expectations of the holding firm's privatization.

"I think we should get at least $3.3 billion," Valery Nazarov, head of the Federal Property Management Agency, told reporters.

Nazarov said there had been no official evaluation of the stake. (Reuters)

Gazprom Raises Forecast

Gazprom raised its 2005 estimate for sales, borrowings and other gains 24 percent to 2.05 trillion rubles ($71 billion).

The company is borrowing about 130.5 billion rubles, 19 percent more than planned this year, Gazprom said on its web site Wednesday after a board of directors meeting. Gazprom said both budget revenue and spending increased after it bought Sibneft, the country's No. 5 oil producer, in October.

The board also approved the sale of one-third of its banking unit, Gazprombank, to Dresdner Bank, the company said in a separate statement. (Bloomberg)

Alrosa Projects '06 Sales

State-owned diamond monopoly Alrosa expects sales to rise 12 percent to $2.9 billion next year, from an expected $2.5 billion this year, Vedomosti reported Wednesday, without saying where it got the information. Alrosa is the world's second-biggest diamond producer, after De Beers. (Bloomberg)

Iranian Cars to Make Debut

Iranian carmaker Khodro will start selling its Samand sedans in Russia in March, Interfax reported on Wednesday, citing Khalim Bilalov, head of the company's Russian operations.

The retail price of the four-door automobile starts at $10,600, the news service said. The company expects to sell at least 3,000 cars in Russia next year, Bilalov told Interfax. Khodro engineers have modified the Samand, which is based on Peugeot's 405 model, to meet demands specific to Russia, the news agency said. (Bloomberg)

Monstermob Enters Russia

Britain's Monstermob Group, a provider of ringtones and games for mobile phones, on Wednesday said it had agreed to buy Russian content provider Mobicon for around $27 million.

Monstermob, which targets 14- to 30-year olds with pictures and videos ranging from kittens to soft porn, said the purchase would be financed mainly by shares. It said Russia's Mobicon made sales of around $15 million in the year that ended in October. (Reuters)