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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Ruble Drops Against Dollar

The ruble retreated against the dollar as the euro lost ground against the U.S currency, dealers said Wednesday.

The euro dropped to its weakest against the dollar in more than seven months on reports that a possible demise of the European Monetary Union was raised at a meeting attended by senior German financial officials.

"The market is trading in the euro's wake. The dollar is rising rather hysterically [against the ruble]," said Raiffeisenbank dealer Sergei Shchepilov. "Clients aren't rushing to sell the dollar while it is rising [globally], and that is spurring on buyers." (Reuters)

PMI Slips in May

Growth in the manufacturing sector dipped for a second successive month in May, as price pressures persisted and firms shed jobs, a Moscow Narodny Bank report showed Wednesday.

MNB's purchasing managers' index slipped to 52.2 in May, still above the threshold separating expansion from contraction, from 52.4 in April. The index has only fallen below 50 once since 1998 -- in November 2004. (Reuters)

Lebedev to Appeal

Platon Lebedev, the former head of Menatep who was sentenced to nine years in prison on Tuesday, said he would appeal the sentence and warned that the real crimes had been carried out by the state, Interfax reported.

"I will expose the criminal goals and methods of those who organized this trickery of the 21st century," Lebedev said in a statement read out by his lawyer on Wednesday. "They are trying to drown us in an ocean of structured lies in order to cover up everyday crimes of the more odious members of the government." (MT)

Gazprom Debt at $18.5Bln

Gazprom, the country's most leveraged company, had debts of $18.5 billion at the end of 2004, according to preliminary data published in its corporate magazine, Interfax reported Wednesday.

That suggests Gazprom's debt jumped by about $1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2004. Gazprom had net debt of 492.2 billion rubles ($17.46 billion) as of Sept. 30, up from 425.9 billion rubles on Dec. 31, 2003. (Reuters)

Japanese Sign LNG Deal

Japan's Tohoku Electric has agreed to buy 420,000 tons a year of liquefied natural gas from Shell-led Sakhalin Energy over a 20-year period, the LNG producer said Wednesday.

News of the deal, expected to start in 2010, comes two days after a similar agreement was announced with Hiroshima Gas, which will buy half as much.

Eight customers have now signed up for LNG from Sakhalin Energy, which is developing the Sakhalin-2 deposit off the coast of Russia's Far East, the world's biggest LNG project. (Reuters)

Venezuelan Power Stations

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Russia and Venezuela's state hydroelectric company will undertake at least three projects to boost the South American country's power industry in the face of rising demand, El Universal reported.

Electricidad del Caroni, the state company, and unidentified Russian companies will build a power station in the eastern state of Delta Amacuro, the newspaper said, citing Jacinto Anez, who is the project manager for the Venezuelan company.

Hydraulic systems for power plants and power transmission ventures are also planned, Anez said, the newspaper reported. Anez gave no investment figures for the three projects. (Bloomberg)

Alfa Ordered to Pay Paper

A court ordered Alfa Bank to pay damages to Kommersant, overturning an earlier decision upholding Alfa's claim the newspaper triggered a run on deposits last July, Interfax said.

The Moscow Arbitration Court on Wednesday ordered Alfa Bank to pay Kommersant 270 million rubles ($9.5 million), the news service said. Alfa can appeal to the Ninth Arbitration Court within a month, Interfax said.

The same court in October ordered Kommersant to pay Alfa 320.5 million rubles for printing a story it said contained rumors that led Alfa depositors to withdraw money during a wider run on banks last summer. (Bloomberg)

Alfa Deal on Turkcell?

STOCKHOLM -- Alfa Telecom may soon reach an accord with the Cukurova group to pay more than 24 billion kronor ($3.2 billion) for a stake in Turkish mobile phone operator Turkcell, Svenska Dagbladet reported, without saying where it got the information.

The two companies plan to form a holding company, which would buy the shares in Turkcell for 1.5 billion kronor more than TeliaSonera's earlier offer, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

MTS Q1 Revenues Up 32%

Mobile TeleSystems reported a 32 percent rise in first-quarter revenues and a 22 percent rise in core profit, but the figures missed analysts' average forecasts.

Revenues reached $1.057 billion, just below an average forecast of $1.096 billion in a poll. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization were up 22 percent year on year to $537 million, compared with $556 million in the poll of 10 analysts. The EBITDA margin was 50.8 percent, just below the poll's figure of 51 percent. (Reuters)

Grocer's '04 Profit Triples

Supermarket chain Sedmoi Kontinent said Wednesday its profit more than tripled last year as sales soared and it opened more stores.

Net income rose to $27.3 million under international accounting standards, compared with $8.6 million a year earlier, the company said. Sales advanced 45 percent to $496 million.

Sedmoi Kontinent, which raised $80.7 million last November in the first initial public offering by a Russian grocery chain, almost doubled its number of stores last year. (Bloomberg)

Q1 Chromium Plant Results

Leading chromium manufacturer Klyuchevsky Ferroalloys Plant produced 1,799 tons in the first quarter of this year, the plant said Wednesday.

The plant, located in the Ural Mountains' Sverdlovsk region, produced 9,188 tons of chromium metal in 2004, up from 5,653 tons the year before. (Reuters)

Ural Nickel Plants Sold

The Moscow-based Industrial Metallurgical Holding management company has bought minor nickel plants Ufaleinikel and Rezhnikelare in the Ural Mountains, the Sverdlovsk region's government said Wednesday.

The government web site did not give details of the deal, and IMH was not immediately available for comment. (Reuters)

Rosbank Bond Plans

Rosbank plans to sell $100 million to $150 million of bonds later this month or in early July, chairman Alexander Popov said, Prime-Tass reported.

The bonds will have a maturity of two or three years, the news service cited Popov as saying. No other information was provided. (Bloomberg)