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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

$200M Apatit Tax Claim

Apatit, Russia's biggest fertilizer producer, received a 5.6 billion ruble ($200 million) tax claim for 2001, Vedomosti reported Friday, citing a company announcement.

Apatit is disputing the claim in the Murmansk Arbitration Court, the newspaper said. Additional tax bills may cripple Apatit, Vedomosti said, citing Marina Alexeyenkova, an analyst at Renaissance Capital brokerage.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is accused of having bought Apatit fraudulently from the government, is on trial for charges that include selling Apatit's fertilizer to trading companies from 2000 to 2002 at below market prices to avoid taxes and paying profits to the company's minority shareholders, Vedomosti said. (Bloomberg)

Tomskneft Case Widens

Regional prosecutors opened a fifth criminal case against management at Tomskneft, a wholly owned subsidiary of Yukos, Interfax reported Friday.

Former Tomskneft general director Nikolai Logachyov is under investigation for pumping more oil than the company's allotment in 1999, resulting in 208 million rubles ($7.4 million) of unlawful gains, Interfax reported, citing an unidentified employee at a regional law enforcement agency.

Management already face charges for overproduction in 2000 through 2003 and for tax evasion in 1999 to 2001, the agency reported. (Bloomberg)

Pipeline Expansion Plan

LONDON -- Gazprom may seek to expand a proposed pipeline linking the Netherlands and Britain so it can meet sales targets.

The 36-inch line, known as the BBL, links Balgzand in the Netherlands and Bacton, southeast England, and is slated to start operating by the end of next year.

"Our first choice is to use existing capacity" at BBL and other import pipelines, Alexander Medvedev, deputy chief executive of Gazprom, said at a London news conference. "But it may be necessary to expand BBL." He did not specify how the expansion may take place. (Bloomberg)

Arctic Oil Boost

LONDON -- State-run oil producer Rosneft will boost oil exports from Russia's Arctic by at least 44 percent after it completes the expansion next year of a port in the Arkhangelsk region.

Rosneft plans to ship at least 6.5 million tons of crude and oil products next year, from 4.5 million tons this year, Alexander Krapivin, head of logistics at the company's local shipping unit, said Friday. The company plans to add three more tankers in the next four months. (Bloomberg)

Gold Output Down 7.5%

Russia produced 30.7 tons of gold in the first four months of the year, down 7.5 percent from the same period last year, Interfax reported, citing the Union of Gold Producers.

Production from mines fell 9.2 percent to 23.2 tons, recoveries from scrap rose 15.4 percent to 4.4 tons and byproduct output fell 19.3 percent to 3 tons, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)

Coca-Cola Picketed

ST. PETERSBURG -- About 25 employees picketed a Coca-Cola bottling plant in St. Petersburg on Friday, demanding its management index their salaries to inflation, adhere to labor laws and observe the rights of unions.

Employees are sometimes ordered to work six or seven days a week, as well as to work long hours, said Vladimir Okhrimenko, the chairman of the plant's trade union.

A Coca-Cola official denied the plant violated labor legislation, saying employees work more than five days a week only when three is a need for it, such as when another worker is sick, and only if they agree to do so. (AP)