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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Budget Surplus Tops $22Bln

Budget surplus rose to a preliminary 618.8 billion rubles ($22.1 billion) in the first four months of the year as the rising cost of oil, No. 1 export commodity, boosted government revenue.

The surplus is equal to 10.6 percent of GDP, Finance Ministry spokeswoman Irina Ershova said.

Budget revenue in the first four months of the year swelled to 1.588 trillion rubles ($56.7 billion), or 97.3 percent of the revenue planned for the first half of the year, Ershova said. (Bloomberg)

More Weight to the Euro

The Central Bank raised the euro's weight in its currency basket against which it targets the ruble to 30 percent from 20 percent.

The bank has said that it might let the ruble strengthen as much as 9 percent against the basket of currencies when adjusted for inflation this year, compared with 5 percent last year, to help cut inflation to 10 percent, from 11.7 percent last year.

The dollar will account for 90 percent of the basket. (Bloomberg)

Deripaska in Kosovo?

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska may spend as much as $1.4 billion building power stations in the Kosovo region of Serbia and Montenegro, Vedomosti said, citing a senior Montenegro official.

Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica, or KAP, an aluminum producer being acquired by Deripaska's RusAl, has asked the government for permission to build two power units at the Kosovo-B thermal power station, the newspaper said, citing a Prime-Tass report quoting Montenegro Deputy Prime Minister Branimir Gvozdenovic. (Bloomberg)

$500M for RZD Oil Exports

Russian Railways, or RZD, which runs the world's second-largest rail network, plans to spend 14 billion rubles ($500 million) this year to upgrade tracks to ports in the country's northwest to increase oil shipments.

RZD has invested 80 billion rubles in the regional railroads leading to ports since 2000, and cargo shipments to ports in the region rose 30 percent to 52 million tons last year.

The total railway cargo deliveries to northwestern ports will double by 2010 and will almost triple by 2015, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Goes Global

Alexei Miller, the CEO of gas monopoly Gazprom, said that the company will transform itself into a global player in the energy market.

"Gazprom is ready to move further and become a global energy company, which will define rules in global market," Miller said in an appeal to shareholders posted on the company's web site. "We have the capabilities for this."

Gazprom holds 16 percent of the world's gas reserves and supplies about a quarter of gas consumed in Europe. It produced a record 545 billion cubic meters of gas last year. (Bloomberg)

Yugansk Appeal Delayed

The Moscow Arbitration Court delayed until June 16 considering Rosneft's appeal of a tax claim against Yuganskneftegaz, the former Yukos unit that Rosneft bought in December, Interfax said.

Russian tax authorities are demanding 29.6 billion rubles ($1.06 billion) from Yugansk for taxes they said the unit owes for 2002, when it belonged to Yukos.

The same court on May 13 ordered Yukos to pay state-owned Rosneft 62.4 billion rubles for damages to Yugansk.

In total, Rosneft is seeking more than $12 billion from Yukos. (Bloomberg)

Uzbek Projects Reaffirmed

Gazprom and LUKoil reaffirmed commitments to develop oil and gas projects in Uzbekistan amid deadly clashes that erupted in the country on May 13, Interfax said, citing spokespeople from both companies.

The unrest has not caused Gazprom, which produces and ships gas in Uzbekistan, to consider curtailing its activities.

LUKoil, which plans to develop the Kandym gas project, will not alter its plans, Interfax reported, citing Grigory Volchek, a spokesman for the LUKoil unit that operates projects outside Russia. (Bloomberg)

Sakhalin-2 Oil Exports

A Royal Dutch/Shell Group-led venture pumping crude off Sakhalin Island will resume exports in June, Interfax said, citing Yury Sinev, head of Primorsk Shipping Corp.'s operations on the island.

Sakhalin Energy Investment, which operates the Sakhalin-2 project off the country's Pacific coast, will ship the cargo on a Primorsk Shipping tanker.

Primorsk Shipping has transported Sakhalin-2 oil since 2003 and will participate in a tender in December to extend its contract. (Bloomberg)

Surgut's Profit Up 52%

Surgutneftegaz, fourth-biggest oil producer, said profit climbed 52 percent in the first quarter as the company increased production.

Profit rose to 19.7 billion rubles ($705 million) from 13 billion rubles a year earlier, the Surgut-based company said in a report published on its web site Monday. (Bloomberg)

Tatneft Profit Falls 3.3%

Tatneft, sixth-largest oil producer, said that its first quarter profit fell 3.3 percent from the same period last year, as costs increased.

Tatneft's net income declined to 5.3 billion rubles ($189 million), from 5.48 billion rubles in the same period last year. Revenue rose 8.5 percent to 35 billion rubles. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil's Sales Jump 62%

LUKoil reported sales of 122.492 billion rubles ($4.38 billion) in the first quarter of 2005, a 62 percent jump from the 75.58 billion rubles in the same period of 2004.

The first quarter figure was also 31 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2004. (Reuters)

Mosenergo Income Up 67%

Mosenergo, which supplies most of Moscow's electricity, said Monday that net income increased by two-thirds in the first quarter as demand and prices increased.

Net income rose 67 percent to 4.43 billion rubles ($158 million) in the first quarter, a rise from 2.66 billion rubles in the same period in 2004. (Bloomberg)

VSMPO Earnings Rise 4%

VSMPO, the world's biggest titanium maker, increased first-quarter profit 4.5 percent to 513.3 million rubles ($18.3 million), Interfax reported.

Titanium is used to make alloys that are strong and resistant to underwater corrosion as well as golf clubs and artificial hips. (Bloomberg)

Palladium Sales Soar

Russia, the world's top supplier of palladium, raised sales by 29 percent in 2004 to 3.80 million ounces from 2.95 million in 2003, precious metals refiner Johnson Matthey, or JM, said Monday.

JM said in its 2005 platinum review that sales of sister metal platinum declined by 19 percent in 2004 to 850,000 ounces. (Reuters)