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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Reserves Rise $600M

The Central Bank added $600 million to its foreign currency and gold reserves in the week ending May 6, increasing its reserves to a record $144.7 billion as the price of oil remained high.

The reserves rose from $144.1 billion as of April 29 and $144.3 billion as of May 1, the bank said in a statement. (Bloomberg)

Fortum Power Stake

Finland's Fortum may increase its stake in a new power producer that was formed from the breakup of the national utility Unified Energy Systems, Interfax reported, citing Fortum CEO Mikael Lilius.

"I don't exclude such an option that we could raise our share in this company," Lilius told the news service in St. Petersburg.

"Today we want to make sure that the next stage of reorganization will be implemented according to schedule and the plan. Only afterwards we'll work out our position on the holding," he said. (Bloomberg)

Surgut's $1Bln Pipeline

Surgutneftegaz plans to launch a $1 billion pipeline in 2008 that will eventually allow it to pipe Siberian oil to the Pacific, CEO Vladimir Bogdanov was quoted as saying Thursday. Previously, 2009 was cited as the most likely launch date.

Interfax quoted Bogdanov as telling reporters in Irkutsk that the pipeline would carry 4 million tons of oil in 2008 (80,000 barrels per day), rising to 6 million tons in 2010 (120,000 bpd), although its capacity would be 26 million tons per year. (Reuters)

Oil Product Shipments

Transnefteprodukt, the state-owned oil-product pipeline monopoly, exported 4.6 million tons of fuel in the first quarter.

The company's fuel shipments in Russia and for export rose 0.7 percent to 6.9 million tons in the period, Transnefteprodukt said Thursday in a statement posted on its web site.

Ventspils Nafta Terminals, a Latvian oil terminal on the Baltic Sea, received 1.4 million tons of fuel to load into tankers, the largest export volume in the period, the Russian company said. (Bloomberg)

Taiwan to Buy Sakhalin Gas?

SINGAPORE -- Chinese Petroleum, Taiwan's only natural gas producer and importer, is considering buying liquefied natural gas from eastern Russia to diversify its source of supply.

State-owned Chinese Petroleum may buy gas from the Royal Dutch/Shell-led Sakhalin II project to add Russian supplies to those already received from Indonesia and Malaysia. Deliveries from Qatar are due to start in 2008, Jane Liao, general manager of the LNG purchasing division, said Thursday.

Taiwan's imports of LNG may rise to about 10 million tons a year by 2010, less than the government's 1998 forecast of 13 million tons, Liao said. (Bloomberg)

Smolensky's Rover Offer

VIENNA -- Nikolai Smolensky, a 24-year-old Russian millionaire, made the only offer to take over MG Rover, the insolvent British carmaker, the Austrian weekly magazine Format reported, citing PricewaterhouseCoopers.

PwC, which administrates the company, has only Smolensky's offer on the table after another potential buyer, from Iran, backed out on Monday, the report said. Smolensky bought British carmaker TVR Engineering in July 2004 for 22 million euros ($28 million) and is "a fan of the British automotive industry," the magazine quoted him as saying. (Bloomberg)

MMK Supply Troubles

Steel firm Magnitogorsk Metal and Steel Works, or MMK, had to find new raw materials sources hastily after its key iron ore supplier in Kazakhstan abruptly stopped shipments, Vedomosti reported Thursday.

Sokolov-Sarbai, Kazakhstan's biggest iron ore producer, had been supplying up to 70 percent of MMK's needs.

To ensure steady production, MMK had to quickly find new suppliers, including Ukraine's Poltavsky. (Reuters)

Aluminum Exports Up

Russia increased aluminum exports by 46 percent in the first three months of the year, Interfax reported, citing Federal Customs Service statistics.

Aluminum exports to countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States rose to 1.05 million tons in the period, the news service said.

Nickel exports fell 3.4 percent to 57,200 tons and refined copper exports fell 44 percent to 59,000 tons, Interfax said. Aluminum, nickel and copper exports in the period totaled $1.35 billion, $869.9 million and $186.8 million respectively, the news service said. (Bloomberg)

Aeroflot-Alitalia Codeshare

Flagship carrier Aeroflot said Thursday that it had signed a code-sharing agreement with Italy's Alitalia on flights between Moscow and Milan.

The firm said in a statement that the agreement would come into effect on June 1 and would cover four Moscow-Milan flights and three Milan-Moscow flights each week.

Initially the agreement enables each airline to allot the other carrier a block of 125 economy-class and 16 business-class seats each week, but it envisages eventually switching to unrestricted sales of each other's tickets. Aeroflot said the agreement took it a step closer to joining the SkyTeam alliance. (Reuters)

German Drugmaker Profits

FRANKFURT, Germany -- Stada Arzneimittel, Germany's fourth-biggest maker of generic drugs, said quarterly profit rose 11 percent on record sales and acquisitions.

Net income increased to 17 million euros ($22 million) from 15.3 million euros a year earlier, Stada said in a statement Thursday.

Acquisitions such as the purchase of Russian drugmaker Nizhpharm contributed 12.8 million euros to sales and will help boost revenue and earnings by 10 percent or more this year, Stada said. (Bloomberg)

Turkmen Gas Exports Cut

Turkmenistan cut natural gas exports 4 percent to 16.8 billion cubic meters in the first four months of the year from the same period in 2003 because of delays in fuel exports to Ukraine, reported, citing the Turkmen Oil and Gas Ministry.

Gas extraction fell 1 percent to 23.8 bcm, and oil and gas condensate production rose 0.5 percent to 3.2 million tons in the period, or 195,000 barrels per day, the Internet news service said. (Bloomberg)