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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Fuel Duties Set to Rise

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Russia, the world's second-largest oil supplier, will raise export duties on diesel, gasoline and kerosene by 20 percent to curb exports and slow the domestic increase in oil-product prices.

Customs will start charging $68.20 per ton of the light and medium-grade fuel, up from $57 per ton now, the government said in a statement posted on Rossiiskaya Gazeta's web site on Friday. The fuel oil export duty will decrease to $36.70 per ton, down from $45.40 per ton now.

The new duties will come into force a month after publication in the newspaper.

Choppers for Caracas

CARACAS, Venezuela (Bloomberg) -- Venezuela, seeking to build up security on the Colombian border after clashes with irregulars, said it would sign a $120 million contract on Monday for the delivery of 10 Russian helicopters, El Universal reported.

Deputy Eddy Rios, who heads the National Assembly's defense committee, said the 10 will be the first of 44 to be purchased over the next five years, the newspaper said. Deliveries of the 10 will be staggered over a 12-month period, the newspaper said.

A contract for 100,000 Russian assault rifles will be readied once the helicopter agreement is signed, Rios said, the newspaper reported.

$36M RosOil Terminal

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- RosOil will spend 1 billion rubles ($35.8 million) building an oil-hauling terminal to ship oil by rail to the northern seaport of Vitino, said Russian Railways, or RZD, the country's rail monopoly.

RosOil, based in Yaroslavl, and RZD's northern division will jointly construct a terminal in the Vologda region, a spokeswoman at Northern Railways said Friday in a telephone interview. The terminal will start work in May, RZD said Friday in a statement.

The partners have built a six-kilometer pipeline that will ship crude to reservoirs, RZD said. Oil then will flow through the pumping station to the rail terminal, from which trains will carry fuel to Vitino, on the White Sea coast.

Odessa-Brody Plans

WARSAW (Bloomberg) -- Ukraine plans to ship Caspian oil to Poland via an Odessa-Brody pipeline, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said in an interview with Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza.

Ukraine wants to extend the pipeline to Gdansk, the Polish port on the Baltic Sea, and together with Poland is examining possibilities for financing the venture, Tarasyuk said, the newspaper reported.

"We count on loans from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank," Tarasyuk said, according to the paper.

A 490-kilometer Brody-Plock pipeline will probably cost about $500 million and would take three to four years to build, according to earlier estimates of the Ukrainian government.

India Seeks Kazakh Oil

NEW DELHI, India (Bloomberg) -- India has sought stakes in four oil and gas properties in Kazakhstan, as part of efforts to secure supplies for Asia's third-largest oil consumer.

Mani Shankar Aiyar, India's oil minister, expressed a desire for stakes in oil fields in Tengiz and Kashagan during a speech in Astana, according to a copy made available to reporters in New Delhi on Friday. Aiyar also asked for stakes in properties in the Kurmangazy and Darkhan regions, where oil or gas has yet to be discovered.

Oil & Natural Gas Corp., India's largest oil and gas explorer, will invest in these fields, the statement said. ONGC and other state-run oil companies will set up offices in Kazakhstan, Aiyar said.

Severstal Loan to CEO

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Severstal, the Russian steelmaker buying Italy's Lucchini, will not consolidate the Italian company's debts, since Severstal chief executive Alexei Mordashov will buy 42 percent of the Italian company himself, Vedomosti reported, citing an unnamed Severstal representative.

Mordashov will borrow $378 million from Severstal at market rates to make the purchase, Vedomosti reported Friday. Severstal, which will eventually be transferred Mordashov's shares, will buy 20 percent minus one share of Lucchini and not have to consolidate, Vedomosti said.

MBRD Eyeing Banks

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- The Moscow Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a lender to businesses controlled by billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov, is in talks to buy consumer banks in Ukraine and Russia as it seeks to diversify its business. MBRD, has assets ranging from telecommunications to retail. The bank has historically focused on lending to other companies under the umbrella of Yevtushenkov's Sistema, and they account for 86 percent of corporate deposits.

Talks have started regarding "possible acquisitions of a Ukrainian bank and a Russian regional bank, both of which have developed retail networks," the lender said in documents relating to a bond sale.

MBRD plans a debut sale of three-year dollar bonds this month, which is being organized by Dresdner Bank.

Lenenergo Profit Soars

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Lenenergo, a Russian power company partly owned by Finland's Fortum, said profit quadrupled last year as prices rose and consumers used more power. It expects profit to rise another 50 percent this year.

The utility, which supplies heat and power to Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, had net income of 865 million rubles ($31 million) last year, compared with 219 million rubles in 2003.

Sales rose 13 percent to 30.2 billion rubles ($1.1 billion), Lenenergo said in a statement on its web site.

Lenenergo's board of directors approved this year's profit forecast at 1.29 billion rubles and sales forecast at 34 billion rubles, the company said.

Used Ladas for Sale

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The official dealership network of Russia's largest car manufacturer, AvtoVAZ, plans to launch sales of secondhand Lada cars in the second half of this year, the company said in a statement Friday.

The company's managers also plan to launch a public relations campaign devoted to the buying, repair and sale of Lada cars, according to the statement.

AvtoVAZ plans to reform its sales system, the company said earlier, adding that the reform includes direct supplies to regional dealers.

This year AvtoVAZ plans to produce about 684,000 cars.

$90M Bank Loan

LONDON (Bloomberg) -- Industrial & Construction Bank St. Petersburg, Russia's ninth-largest bank by assets, got a $90 million loan from almost two dozen banks led by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd., Commerzbank and Standard Bank Group.

The 364-day loan was increased from an initial $50 million after lenders offered more money than the St. Petersburg-based bank initially sought, the arrangers of the deal said.

The privately owned bank is paying an interest margin of 2.95 percentage points more than the London interbank offered rate for the loan. Lenders got fees ranging from 0.6 percent to 0.9 percent of the amount of funds they provided.