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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Reserves Reach $155Bln

Russia's foreign currency and gold reserves rose for a fourth straight week, the longest continuous gain since May, to a record $155 billion.

Reserves rose by $3.1 billion in the week to Sept. 16, the Central Bank said in a statement from Moscow.

The previous record was $151.9 billion in the week that ended Sept. 9. (Bloomberg)

Foreign Debt Repayment

Russia hopes to redeem a further $3 billion to $5 billion of its foreign debts this year, possibly on terms better than its recent $15 billion Paris Club debt buyback, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Thursday.

Russia completed payments under the Paris Club debt deal only last month, but large windfall oil revenues are quickly refilling the budget stabilization fund set up to pay off foreign borrowing. (Reuters)

Japanese Join LNG Study

TOKYO -- Gazprom has agreed with two Japanese firms to conduct a joint feasibility study on shipping Russian liquefied natural gas to North America, the Japanese partners said on Thursday.

Japan's Itochu and shipping company Mitsui expect to help Gazprom ship as much as 15 million tons of LNG produced at the Shtokman offshore gas field in the Barents Sea to North America in 2010, when the field is scheduled to begin operation, an Itochu spokeswoman said.

The volume equals 10 percent of current global LNG exports. (Reuters)

Salym Set to Start

A Royal Dutch Shell-led venture will start commercial production of oil in November at the Salym group of fields in Western Siberia.

Salym's three fields, owned equally by Shell and London-based Sibir Energy, may hold reserves of about 812 million barrels of oil, as estimated by project operator Salym Petroleum Development, according to the Sibir web site.

SPD finished drilling 30 wells with reservoir development "in line with expectations,'' the company said in a statement. (Bloomberg)

Surgut Wins Tyumen Field

Surgutneftegaz bought an oil field in the Tyumen region of Siberia at auction for 252 million rubles ($8.9 million), Interfax reported Thursday.

The field has estimated reserves of 23.5 million tons (172 million barrels), the newswire said.

Surgutneftegaz, the country's fourth-largest oil producer, increased average daily output by 8.5 percent in the first eight months of 2005 from 42.17 million tons in the same period a year ago, the company said Sept. 6 in a statement. Gas production rose 1.5 percent to 9.54 billion cubic meters. (Bloomberg)

Kovykta License Fine-Tuned

The license held by TNK-BP unit Russia Petroleum for the Kovykta field was adjusted to more "clearly" define what work must be done, Interfax said, citing Valeri Pak, chief executive of the unit.

Russia's development of a project to supply gas from the field to Russia's Irkutsk region is a year ahead of schedule after the Natural Resources Ministry amended the license's timeframe, the news agency reported. The ministry did not change the 9 billion cubic meters of gas that the field is required to supply to the Irkutsk region in 2006, Interfax said.

Natural Resource Minister Yury Trutnev said on May 12 that TNK-BP had to develop the field more quickly or risk losing it. (Bloomberg)

Highland Reports H1 Loss

Highland Gold Mining, which operates two gold mines in Russia, reported a first-half loss as production costs surged and it sold less metal.

The net loss was $6.9 million, or 4.6 cents a share, from a profit of $6.5 million, or 5.5 cents, a year earlier, the British-based company said on Thursday. Sales fell 26 percent to $28.3 million. (Bloomberg)

Peter Hambro Profit Rises

Peter Hambro Mining, which digs for gold in the Far East, said first-half profit rose 83 percent as it mined more metal and sold it at higher prices.

Net income in the first half increased to $5.9 million, or 7.5 cents per share, from $3.2 million, or 4.6 cents per share, the London-based company said Thursday.

Sales rose 50 percent to $42.3 million. Gold production rose 37 percent to 102,178 ounces. (Bloomberg)

Power Shares to Trade

Russia may list the shares of wholesale power-generation companies on foreign stock exchanges while barring companies such as Gazprom from gaining more than 15 percent stakes, Kommersant reported, citing an anti-monopoly official.

Russia wants to attract a wider range of investors to the wholesalers set up as the country's power industry is restructured, Kommersant said, citing the deputy head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, Anatoly Golomolzin.

The service is trying to prevent industrial groups that want sources of cheap energy or fuel suppliers from holding a majority in power-generating companies, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Tire Flotation

Gazprom's petrochemical arm, Sibur, may float its tire business or sell a part in it to a strategic partner before 2008, analysts said Thursday.

Analysts from several brokerages, including Aton and UFG, quoted Sibur senior vice president Dmitry Konov as telling them the plan was part of a broader restructuring program for the company.

He said the tire business would be kept separate through the holding Sibur Russian Tires, which will hold stakes in the four tire plants -- Yarshina, Omskshina, Voltire and Uralshina. (Reuters)

Alfa Files Turkcell Papers

Alfa Group made its final application to Turkish regulators on Thursday for the approval of its planned purchase of a stake in Turkcell, Turkey's largest mobile phone company.

Alfa, a Moscow-based oil and telecommunications company, is lending $3.3 billion to Turkcell's largest shareholder, Cukurova Group of Turkey, in return for a 13 percent stake in Turkcell. The Russian company is seeking a waiver from having to buy out the publicly traded shares of Turkcell.

In an interim decision earlier this month, Turkey's Capital Markets Board said it was leaning toward granting that exemption. (Bloomberg)

Evraz COO Buys TV Station

Evraz Group chief operating officer Valery Khoroshkovsky paid $200 million for a 61 percent stake in Inter, Ukraine's financial news television station, Vedomosti said, without saying where it got the information.

The purchase was Khoroshkovky's own business and unconnected with Evraz and its founders, Vedomosti said Thursday. (Bloomberg)