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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Reserves Hit $145Bln

The Central Bank added $300 million to its foreign currency and gold reserves in the week ending May 13, increasing its reserves to a record $145 billion. The reserves rose from $144.7 billion as of May 6, the Central Bank said in a statement.

Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said last month he expected the bank's reserves to rise $51 billion this year to exceed $175 billion. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Gains in Value

Gazprom's value rose 4 percent to 5 percent from the $80 billion given by Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein as of June 30 last year, Interfax reported, citing an unidentified person close to the company. Gazprom's value rose after buying out Rosneft's half of Sevmorneftegaz, the agency reported.

The company's value is no less than that of its American Depositary Receipts, Interfax reported, citing the person, who declined to give the new value. The government has asked for valuations on Gazprom so that it raise its stake in the company to a majority by purchasing at least 10.7 percent of its stock. (Bloomberg)

MTS Gets $13M Tax Bill

Mobile TeleSystems, Russia's biggest mobile phone company, received a 372 million ruble ($13 million) back tax claim for operations during 2002 from tax authorities, Vedomosti said Thursday, citing financial statements.

MTS agreed to pay 21 million rubles and appealed the rest of the claim in the Moscow Arbitration Court, the newspaper said, citing Andrei Braginsky, the head of investor relations at MTS.

Mobile TeleSystems' tax payments for years other than 2002 may also be checked by authorities, Vedomosti said. (Bloomberg)

Mazeikiu Sale in June?

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Yukos may sell its 53.7 percent stake in refiner Mazeikiu Nafta by next month, Lithuanian Premier Algirdas Brazauskas said Thursday, according to the Baltic News Service.

Brazauskas, speaking on Ziniu Radio in Vilnius, said "there are signs an agreement may be reached in June, during the summer," BNS reported.

He said there were several bidders for Yukos' stake, declining to name them, and said a buyer needed the government's approval. (Bloomberg)

Evraz Price Range

LONDON -- Russia's biggest steelmaker, Evraz Group, plans to place GDRs at $13.50 to $17.00 to give a market value of $4.7 billion to $6.0 billion for its upcoming flotation in London, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Evraz ranks among the world's top 15 steelmakers and joins a wave of Russian firms listing in London.

Evraz, controlled by CEO Alexander Abramov, produced 13.7 million tons of steel in 2004 and says its self-sufficiency in iron ore and coking coal gives it cost advantages over its rivals.

Buoyed by booming world demand, Evraz nearly trebled sales in 2004 to $5.9 billion from $2.1 billion a year earlier. (Reuters)

Alrosa '05 Profit Forecast

Alrosa, Russia's diamond monopoly, expects 2005 profit to be at least 12 billion rubles ($429 million) on revenue of $2.8 billion.

The company does not expect that a criminal case opened against it by prosecutors last week will hurt operations, vice president Dmitry Novikov said Thursday in a conference call.

Capital expenditure this year will be 14 billion rubles, and debt is expected to fall by $160 million to $985 million by the end of the year, Novikov said. (Bloomberg)

$409M in MTS Dividends

Mobile TeleSystems plans to almost double its dividend payout to 11.47 billion rubles ($409.48 million) for 2004.

The company's board earlier this week recommended a dividend of 5.75 rubles per common share, which is worth about $1.03 per American Depositary Receipt, from last year's earnings, MTS said Thursday in a statement. The company paid out 6.38 billion rubles on 2003 earnings.Shareholders will vote on the dividend at an annual general meeting set for June 21. (Bloomberg)

Uralsvyaz Upbeat in '05

YEKATERINBURG -- Uralsvyazinform, one of Russia's regional telecoms companies, expects 2005 net profit to rise 10 percent to $65 million to $70 million, deputy general director Valery Chernyshov said on Thursday.

The company, which serves the Urals, expects revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization to rise 17 percent to 18 percent, to $1.15 billion and $350 million respectively. Figures are to international accounting standards.

Chernyshov told an Internet news conference Uralsvyazinform would publish its 2004 IAS report in the middle of June. (Reuters)

Indians Buy IKB

MUMBAI, India -- India's second-largest bank, ICICI Bank, said on Thursday it made its first foreign acquisition, buying a small unlisted Russian bank.

The purchase of Investitsionno-Kreditny Bank (IKB), which had assets of $4.4 million at March's end, will give New York Stock Exchange-listed ICICI a toe-hold in Russia's emerging market.

ICICI did not disclose the value of the deal or other details. (Reuters)

Delta Fund Raises $120M

Delta Private Equity Partners said on Thursday it had raised $120 million for an investment fund.

A Delta spokeswoman said the money would be invested in fast-growing companies such as media, telecommunications, consumer goods and technology.

The fund has already invested in sandwich chain Prime; USP Compulink, a computer systems integrator; and NCN, a cable television operator.

Delta, which grew out of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund, also manages another $440 million fund. (MT)

IKEA Profit Expectations

IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad said he expected his Russian stores to turn a profit within two years.

IKEA has invested $1 billion in Russia since 1998 to open its first four outlets and plans to spend the same over the next two years, making the closely held Swedish company one of Russia's largest foreign investors outside the energy industry. "We know in the long run it will be profitable," Kamprad said Wednesday in an interview. (Bloomberg)

Henkel Sales to Grow 20%?

Henkel, German-based maker of Persil detergents and Schwarzkopf hair care, expects sales in Russia to rise as much as 20 percent this year.

Russia's weight in Henkel's global sales is likely to rise by 2 to 3 percentage points over the next five years from almost 4 percent last year, Christian Poschik, head of Henkel's detergents division in Russia, said.

Henkel's Russian sales reached about 400 million euros last year, the firm said in a statement. (Bloomberg)