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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Svyazinvest Sale Urged

The government should stick to its plan to sell the state's 75 percent in Svyazinvest, the national fixed-line phone monopoly, Vedomosti reported Monday, citing IT and Communications Minister Leonid Reiman.

The Economic Development and Trade Ministry this month suggested merging Svyazinvest with its seven subsidiaries. The plan would be difficult to realize because it could hurt the interests of minority investors, Reiman said Monday, Vedomosti reported. It could also lead to the market's monopolization, deterioration of competition and an increase in prices, he said. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom, Moldova Accord

LONDON -- Gazprom, the world's biggest natural gas company, will agree on next year's gas sales with Moldova before Dec. 28, Interfax said Monday, citing Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko.

The contract will only cover gas sales in 2007, instead of the previously planned five years, Moldovan First Deputy Prime Minister Zinaida Grecianii told Interfax. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Connection Plans

Gazprom plans to spend at least 20.2 billion rubles ($770 million) next year to connect domestic customers to gas lines.

Gazprom's board on Tuesday decided to spend 8 billion rubles more than originally planned on its so-called regional gasification program, the company said in a statement.

"By the end of 2007, an additional 13 million citizens will have become gas consumers,'' Dmitry Medvedev, Gazprom's chairman and deputy prime minister, said. (Bloomberg)

Georgian PM in Gas Talks

ANKARA, Turkey -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili arrived in Turkey on Tuesday to begin three days of meetings expected to focus on the sharing of gas from an enormous Caspian Sea field.

Negotiators from Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan have been wrangling over how to divide quotas for gas from the Shah Deniz field in the Caspian, which is expected eventually to have a peak capacity of 8.4 billion cubic meters of gas and 2 million tons of gas condensate per year. (AP)

Sistema to Buy Saturn, Ufa?

Vladimir Yevtushenko's Sistema may buy stakes in local engine makers Saturn and Ufa Motors, Vedomosti reported Tuesday, citing two unidentified people close to the holding company.

Sistema representatives met the owners of the two motor manufacturers last week, the newspaper said. The holding company offered to buy Saturn shares held by the company's managers, Vedomosti cited an unidentified person close to Saturn as saying. (Bloomberg)

Mechel Names Zyuzin CEO

NEW YORK -- Mechel, the country's fifth-largest steelmaker, said chairman Igor Zyuzin and CEO Vladimir Iorich were switching jobs.

Zyuzin had been chairman since March 2003, Mechel said Monday in a statement distributed by PR Newswire. He owns 66 percent of the company, Mechel said in June. (Bloomberg)

Oil Export Projections

The country plans to export 54.3 million tons of crude in the first quarter of next year (4.4 million barrels per day), the Industry and Energy Ministry said Tuesday.

Russian companies are expected to produce 119 million tons of crude and 175 billion cubic meters of natural gas in that period, the ministry said, based on the export schedule signed by the minister, Viktor Khristenko. (Bloomberg)

Software Exports at $1.8Bln

Software exports have risen 80 percent this year, suggesting the country could become the world's No. 3 exporter of information technology after India and China by 2010, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

Russian software companies may export goods and services worth $1.8 billion this year versus $1 billion in 2005, the newspaper said, citing IT and Communications Minister Leonid Reiman. That amount could reach $10 billion by 2010, Kommersant said. (Bloomberg)

Rail Cargo Carrier Proposal

Russian Railways, the country's railroad monopoly, may spin off two cargo companies to encourage competition, instead of the one originally planned, Vedomosti reported Tuesday, citing Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Andrei Sharonov.

The two companies, worth about a combined $9 billion, will be spun off next year and sell shares to the public some time later, Sharonov told the newspaper. (Bloomberg)

Svyazinvest Sales Rose 10%

Svyazinvest, the national fixed-line telephone company, said sales rose 10 percent this year as the company added more customers.

Svyazinvest sales increased to 213.2 billion rubles ($8.1 billion), according to preliminary results, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 8.5 percent, to 59.8 billion rubles, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Mechel Installs Caster

Steel company Mechel installed a $100 million continuous caster at its main plant in Chelyabinsk, aiming to cut the volume of steel, alloys and power used in production.

Mechel will make half of its steel using the continuous casting method, as opposed to the current one-third. That will raise the quality of its metal products such as rolled sheet and wire, the company said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

Krasnodar Gambling Zone

More than $3 billion will be invested to develop a gambling zone in southern Russia by 2010, Interfax reported.

Private companies will invest about $2.5 billion and the state $500 million in the Krasnodar region, Interfax said Tuesday, citing First Deputy Governor Alexander Remezkov. The money will help develop gaming infrastructure on the Sea of Azov coast. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Approves Bonuses

The board of Gazprom approved a program of options and bonuses for managers.

The first incentives will be awarded based on 2006 performance, the company said in a statement following a board meeting Monday. Vedomosti reported Monday that the program presented to the board was worth $73 million, citing people close to Gazprom. (Bloomberg)

Aurum Increases Gold Base

Aurum Mining, a British gold-exploration company, raised its resource base by 12.5 percent after completing a feasibility study on its Kyrgyz operation.

The study on Andash Zone 1, a gold mine with copper as a side-product, increased the estimated resource base to 19.2 million tons, with additional low-grade reserves of 5.74 million tons, Aurum said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)