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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Svyaz Sale Opposed

The Kremlin has not made a final decision on the privatization of national telecoms holding Svyazinvest after running into opposition from members of the State Security Council, Vedomosti reported Friday, citing unnamed government officials.

Some council members spoke out against the privatization during an April 26 meeting, on the grounds that the sale would hurt national security, the newspaper reported.

Opinions of the council, which includes top law enforcement, intelligence and defense officials, are of an advisory nature, so President Vladimir Putin retains the last word in the matter, an unidentified IT and Communications Ministry official told Vedomosti. Officials have said the sale would take place next year. (Bloomberg, MT)

April Oil Output Stagnates

Oil output stagnated in April for a seventh consecutive month after five years of explosive growth and is likely to be around or even slightly below March figures of 9.33 million barrels per day.

Preliminary Industry and Energy Ministry data showed on Friday that daily production was fluctuating in April between as low as 1.265 million tons or 9.27 million bpd (on April 14) and as much as 1.272 million tons or 9.32 million bpd (on April 29).

Russia is likely to release the final April data next week. (Reuters)

LUKoil Profit Rises 11%

Top oil producer LUKoil's net profit rose 11 percent in 2004, but excluding one-off gains in the previous year, it leapt by 72 percent due to high oil prices and rising output, the firm said Friday.

LUKoil, of which No. 3 U.S. oil firm ConocoPhillips owns 11 percent, said net profit under international accounting standards rose to $4.12 billion, largely in line with analysts' expectations and the firm's own forecast. (Reuters)

$118M Q1 Transneft Profit

Transneft, the state-owned oil pipeline operator, earned a profit of 3.3 billion rubles ($118 million) in the first quarter as it carried more oil, the company said on its web site Friday.

The company did not give comparative figures, or say which accounting standard was used or how much crude it shipped in the period. (Bloomberg)

Russneft Buys Yukos' Stake

BUDAPEST -- Russneft, a closely held Russian oil producer, will buy Yukos' 50 percent stake in a Siberian crude oil production venture with Hungary's MOL, the Hungarian company said in a stock exchange statement.

Russneft will take over the stake from Aleria Management, Clermon Systems, Bremon Solutions and SW Solution, who now hold the former Yukos stake in the venture, MOL said.

The Siberian venture pumps oil at the Zapadno-Malobalyk field, which holds proven recoverable oil reserves of 145 million barrels. It accounts for about half of MOL's crude production. (Bloomberg)

Mazeikiu Q1 Profit Up 88%

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Yukos' Lithuanian unit, Mazeikiu Nafta, said first-quarter profit rose 88 percent as high refining margins more than made up for declining exports of Russian crude through its Baltic Sea terminal.

Net income totaled 195.4 million litai ($74.4 million) Mazeikiu Nafta said Friday in a statement from its headquarters.

Mazeikiu will also pay a dividend of 247.6 million litai, or 0.35 litai per share, on last year's record profit, Mazeikiu said in a statement. (Bloomberg)

India Raises ONGC Limit

NEW DELHI, India -- ONGC Videsh, a unit of India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp., can spend as much as 3 billion rupees ($69 million) to buy stakes in oil and gas fields overseas without approval, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar told parliament in New Delhi on Thursday.

In February, Kommersant reported that Aiyar presented a $25 million investment offer to Russian officials as part of ONGC's attempt to purchase a stake in Yukos' former major production unit, Yuganskneftegaz. (Bloomberg, MT)

Aeroflot '04 Profit Up 60%

Aeroflot increased its net profit 60 percent in 2004, the airline said Friday, with growing numbers of affluent Russians attracted by its modernized fleet and bigger choice of destinations.

Aeroflot said its net profit calculated according to Russian accounting standards was 6.33 billion rubles ($228 million) in 2004. (Reuters)

$97M Alrosa Q1 Profit

Alrosa posted a first-quarter profit of 2.7 billion rubles ($97.2 million), down 9 percent from the same period last year, Interfax reported.

Revenue rose to 18 billion rubles from 14.7 billion rubles, and the drop in net income was caused by currency fluctuations, Interfax said, citing an Alrosa official. (Bloomberg)

VSMPO Disclosure

Verkhnyaya Salda Metallurgical Production Association CEO Vladislav Tetyukhin disclosed he owns 30 percent of the company, easing the metals maker's plans to sell shares abroad, Vedomosti reported, citing Tetyukhin.

Verkhnyaya Salda, or VSMPO, sent a letter to the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service with the disclosure, which may persuade the regulator to approve VSMPO's takeover of Avisma, the company's main raw-materials supplier, Vedomosti said. (Bloomberg)

$1Bln Tanker Deal

OSLO -- Stena Bulk, a Swedish shipping company, and Russia's state-owned Sovkomflot may build ice-class tankers worth $1 billion to handle oil exports from ports in the Baltic, TradeWinds reported.

Together they may order as many as 10 tankers with steel reinforcements, allowing them to navigate through sea ice broken up by icebreakers during the cold season, the newspaper said, citing Ulf Ryder, the head of Stena Bulk. (Bloomberg)

Heineken's 4th Brewer?

Heineken is close to buying a fourth brewer in Russia, mid-sized Patra, from industrial holding Alfa Group, Vedomosti reported Friday, quoting sources close to the deal.

A Heineken spokeswoman had no comment on the report but said the brewer's ambition to expand in Russia was well-known.

Yekaterinburg-based Patra has a total capacity of 1.3 million hectoliters and controls about 0.6 percent of the Russian beer market, according to brokerage UralSib. (Reuters)

Siemens Wins $265M Order

BERLIN -- Siemens won an order worth $265 million to expand mobile phone networks in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Siemens won the order from Mobile TeleSystems, Siemens said in a statement Friday.

The order helps meet rising demand for mobile communication in the three countries, Siemens said. (Bloomberg)