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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Ukraine to Speed Up Sales

Ukrainian Finance Minister Viktor Pinzenyk said that the government planned to speed up asset sales after raising just 10 percent of the $1.4 billion in revenue budgeted for this year.

"Everything, or almost everything, should be sold," Pinzenyk said in an interview in Kiev on June 11. "The absolute majority of property must be put into private hands."

State enterprises up for sale may include Ukrtelekom, the national phone monopoly, and a stake in the power company Energetychna Kompaniya Ukrainy. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom's New Pipeline

ST. PETERSBURG -- Gazprom said Tuesday that it had doubled the size of its planned Northern European pipeline.

"The capacity of the pipeline has been set at 55 billion cubic meters per year," Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller told the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

Gazprom had previously said the so-called North TransGas pipeline, which will run from the Baltic port of Vyborg to Germany, would be capable of supplying 19 bcm to 30 bcm per year. (Reuters)

Novatek Approves Share Sale

Novatek shareholders have approved the sale of shares to the public abroad, which may end a plan by oil company Total to buy a stake in the company.

Novatek shareholders on June 10 approved "all resolutions proposed," the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The agenda included a vote on an underwriting agreement for the sale of depositary receipts with UBS, Morgan Stanley and other companies, Novatek said before the meeting. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil Eyes Novatek Unit

ST. PETERSBURG -- LUKoil said Tuesday that it had asked the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service to give it permission to take over Geoilbent, a subsidiary of gas firm Novatek.

"We've sent an application to the [service] to buy 66 percent in Geoilbent," CEO Vagit Alekperov told reporters in St. Petersburg.

Analysts have estimated the value of the Novatek-LUKoil deal at up to $200 million. (Reuters)

Kovykta Prices Questioned

Gazprom said a feasibility study by TNK-BP on the eastern Siberian Kovykta gas field set too low of a price for possible sales to China and South Korea.

The gas price in the study, which was done by TNK-BP unit Rusia Petroleum, does not suit Russia, said Vlada Rusakova, the head of Gazprom's strategic development department, at a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday. She did not specify the price the study recommended. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil in Macedonia

ST. PETERSBURG -- LUKoil is continuing its expansion into Eastern Europe with 40 new filling stations in Macedonia, company president Vagit Alekperov said Tuesday.

"We made the decision to invest in the Macedonian market since it is close to our Bulgarian plant, where we can bring supplies from," he said.

Alekperov said LUKoil had signed an agreement with the Macedonian government that envisaged the firm building 40 filling stations and three oil storage bases within 18 months, at a cost of $50 million. (Reuters)

Kazakh Pipeline to Expand

LONDON -- China National Petroleum Corporation plans next year to more than double the capacity of its Kazakh oil pipeline, which is linked to the network of the Chevron-led Caspian Pipeline Consortium.

CNPC and Kazmunaigaz, the Kazakh national oil company, will expand the Kenkiyak-Atyrau pipeline, which ships oil from western Kazakhstan, to handle 280,000 barrels per day, up from 120,000 bpd now, the Kazakh Embassy in London said in a newsletter.

The pipe, which opened in 2003, is linked with those of the CPC, which pumps crude for export to the Black Sea, and Russia's Transneft. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Electricity Stakes

ST. PETERSBURG -- Gazprom is interested in buying stakes in several wholesale electricity generation firms being formed under industry reforms, its chief executive said Tuesday.

"We are planning to take part in several," Alexei Miller told reporters on the sidelines of the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, when asked whether Gazprom would participate in the formation of Russia's wholesale generating companies.

Miller said Gazprom planned to restructure its power sector holdings in a wholly owned subsidiary, but gave no details. (Reuters)

Fortum's Russian Stake

LONDON -- Fortum, the second-biggest Scandinavian utility, plans to raise its stake in a Russian power producer formed from the breakup of Russia's national utility Unified Energy Systems, UES chief Anatoly Chubais said.

Fortum agreed in February to take an 18 percent stake in TGC-1, a wholesale generating company that will be formed by the utilities Lenenergo, Kolenergo and UES.

The move is part of Chubais' plan to break UES into separate generation, distribution and transmission companies by 2008. (Bloomberg)

Telenor VimpelCom Offer

OSLO -- Norwegian telecoms group Telenor held out the prospect of a merger between VimpelCom and Ukraine's Kyivstar on Tuesday if VimpelCom shareholders back Telenor in a dispute with Alfa Group over ownership of the Russian mobile operator.

"Telenor would, as it has repeatedly stated, support a VimpelCom/Kyivstar transaction under the right conditions," Telenor said in a letter to VimpelCom shareholders ahead of a June 22 annual meeting.

"A merger with Kyivstar is unlikely to occur if Alfa controls VimpelCom," it added. Telenor owns 56.5 percent of Kyivstar, Ukraine's No. 2 mobile operator. (Reuters)

Nokian Starts Production

Finland's Nokian Tires has started production at its plant in Vsevolozhsk, near St. Petersburg, Izvestia reported Tuesday.

Nokian, which kicked off production with a batch of Nokian Hakkapeliitta 4 winter tires, plans to make up to 500,000 tires at the plant by the end of the year.

Investment in the plant stands at 140 million euros ($170 million), a combination of the company's funds and a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The plant's official opening ceremony is slated for the early fall. (MT)

Evraz Unit Ups Ore Output

Kachkanar, the key iron ore unit of steel firm Evrazholding raised crude iron ore output by 4 percent to 20.2 million tons in the first five months of 2005 year on year, Evraz said Tuesday.

The unit also produced 4.4 percent more ore concentrate in that period, or 3.8 million tons, it said. (Reuters)