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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Merkel Clear on EADS

PARIS -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that she had made it clear to President Vladimir Putin that it was not desirable for Russia to take a stronger stake in European aerospace firm EADS.

"I spoke with Putin about this … and [made clear] that an institutional stake from the Russian side is not on the agenda," Merkel said. (Reuters)

Russia WTO Bid in Trouble

LUXEMBOURG -- The European Union on Thursday renewed a threat to block Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization unless it phases out fees on EU airlines that fly over Siberia.

The EU wants Russia to reduce Siberian-overflight charges over the next seven years and end the fees altogether from 2014. (Bloomberg)

EU Threatens Pulkovo Ban

The European Union on Thursday threatened Pulkovo Airlines and Cypriot discount Ajet airline, both of which suffered recent deadly crashes, with a ban if they did not quickly improve their safety standards.

Pulkovo has also been under investigation after one of its jets crashed in Ukraine in August, killing all 170 people aboard. (AP)

Ignatyev Sees 9% Inflation

DRESDEN, Germany -- Central Bank Chairman Sergei Ignatyev said he expected the bank to meet its goal of reducing inflation to 9 percent this year.

"We expect inflation of not more than 9 percent" in 2006, Ignatyev said.

The Central Bank has missed its inflation target for the past two years and its 2006 aim was raised to 9 percent from an initial 8.5 percent. (Bloomberg)

No New SocGen Buys

PARIS -- Societe Generale, the French lender that owns 20 percent of Rosbank, does not plan more purchases in Russia for now and expects the two banks to remain separate, chairman Daniel Bouton said.

The Paris-based bank agreed in June to pay $317 million to double its stake in Rosbank and has the option to increase its holding to more than 50 percent by the end of 2008. Further deals by Societe Generale in Russia are not planned, Bouton said. (Bloomberg)

Fire Slows Work at Mazeikiu

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- A fire at Mazeikiu Nafta, the only oil refiner in the Baltic states, caused millions of dollars worth of damage Thursday and will curb production for some time, Lithuania's prime minister said.

The fire began after an oil-product leak in the distillation mechanism, Mazeikiu said. No one was injured. The refinery is now running at minimum capacity. (Bloomberg)

Pipeline Welcomes Russia

VIENNA -- The Nabucco project, a 4.6 billion euro ($5.8 billion) pipeline intended to diversify Europe's supply of natural gas, said it would welcome Russian links to its Caspian route and is close to adding another equity holder.

The new partner would hold an equal share in the project, Nabucco project manager Johann Gallistl said Thursday in Vienna. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom's Refinery Rebuff

Gazprom's oil unit, Gazprom Neft, failed to win a seat on the board of the Moscow Oil Refinery for a second time after being blocked by Moscow City Hall, the refinery's main owner.

The setback is the second this year for Gazprom Neft, formerly Sibneft, and the latest in its five-year battle for control of the city's main gasoline supplier. (Bloomberg)

Miner to Buy Research Firm

LONDON -- Peter Hambro Mining, the country's third-biggest gold miner, agreed to buy 80 percent of OJSC Irgiredmet, a research company, for $40 million.

The Irkutsk-based research company specializes in the testing and development of precious metals and diamond projects, London-based Peter Hambro said Thursday. (Bloomberg)

Russia's First IPO in IT

Compulink, an information technology group, plans to raise $70 million to $100 million in a initial public offering in London by the end of this month, Vedomosti said.

The company, which would be the first Russian IT business to sell shares on the market, values itself at between $250 million and $300 million. (Bloomberg)

Evraz to Increase Production

Evraz Group will produce over 8 percent more steel this year and expects prices to recover in the second half after they contributed to a 6.7 percent year-on-year drop in first-half profit.

London-listed Evraz on Thursday posted first-half net profits of $571 million, down from $612 million one year earlier due to lower prices. But the company said it expected growing demand to drive a price recovery into the second half of 2006. (Reuters)