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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Pava Plans IPO in '08

Russian grain processor Pava, which makes 3 percent of the country's flour, plans to sell a 25 percent to 30 percent stake through a share offering in London in 2008, its chairman said Wednesday.

The company is also interested in acquiring flour plants in Russia and would spend up to $10 million this year buying new assets, general director Oleg Popov said.

"We are planning to offer our shares on the London Stock Exchange after our 2007 results. Most likely this will be in the second half of 2008," Pava chairman Andrei Igoshin said in an online question-and-answer session. (Reuters)

Arcelor-MMK Talks?

PARIS -- European steel group Arcelor, which is fighting an unsolicited 19 billion euro ($24.50 billion) offer from global leader Mittal Steel, is in talks with Russia's Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works (MMK), French weekly Challenges reported.

"Arcelor is said to be in very advanced talks with Russia's MMK which could take a 'significant' stake in its capital," the paper said in an article due for release Thursday.

Arcelor declined to comment, while MMK could not be immediately reached for comment. (Reuters)

Commerzbank Probe Ends

Frankfurt prosecutors dropped a probe against Commerzbank CEO Klaus-Peter Mueller after investigating whether he was involved in a case of alleged Russian money laundering.

"The probe against Mr. Mueller has been ended," Doris Moeller-Scheu, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, said by telephone Wednesday. "The investigation as such is continuing."

Frankfurt prosecutors in August expanded an international money-laundering probe to include Mueller, head of Germany's No. 2 bank, as they examined whether Russian telecommunications assets were diverted from state businesses to a network of investment funds, dummy companies or secret accounts.

Mueller, 61, has said any accusations against him would be proved groundless. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom, LUKoil Fall

Russian stocks fell, reversing earlier gains, after a U.S. government report showed inflation accelerated more than forecast in April, stoking concern that the Federal Reserve will keep raising interest rates.

Energy producers Gazprom and Lukoil led the slide.

The dollar-denominated Russian Trading System Index slipped 2.7 percent to 1543.26, after climbing as much as 1.8 percent in earlier trading. The ruble-measured Micex Index declined 4.3 percent to 1343.86.

Gazprom lost 4.8 percent to $10.85. Lukoil slipped 2.4 percent to $82.50. (Bloomberg)

VW Eyes Kaluga, Yaroslavl

Europe's largest carmaker Volkswagen has narrowed its search for a site for a car plant in Russia to Kaluga and Yaroslavl, Interfax reported Wednesday, citing an unidentified official at the carmaker. The company will make its decision at a May 24 supervisory board meeting, Interfax said.

Hartwig von Sass, a spokesman for VW, declined to comment immediately. (MT)

Zimbabwe Platinum Talks

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Impala Platinum Holdings' Zimbabwe unit, owner of most of the country's known platinum reserves, said Wednesday it was nearing an agreement with the government to settle a dispute that halted a $750 million expansion.

Zimbabwe's government has said it might take stakes of as much as 51 percent in mines and was seeking to lure Russian and Chinese investors.

A Zimbabwean delegation recently traveled to Russia, where platinum producer Norilsk Nickel is based, and a Russian mission is expected in Zimbabwe soon. (Bloomberg)

VTB Net Up 80%

Vneshtorgbank had an 80 percent gain in first-quarter net income to 3.36 billion rubles ($124.6 million), Interfax reported Wednesday.

Pretax profit almost doubled to 4.38 billion rubles, from 2.26 billion rubles a year earlier, the news service reported, citing bank data. Interfax didn't say which accounting standards the Russian lender used or give other figures.

State-run Vneshtorgbank, based in Moscow, may raise as much as $3 billion in an initial public offering next year, CEO Andrei Kostin said last month. (Bloomberg)

Industrial Output Up 4.8%

Russian industrial production rose 4.8 percent in April, more than expected, as output of construction materials and coal increased.

April growth was more than the 4.1 percent recorded in March, the Federal Statistics Service said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday. It also beat the 4.5 percent median forecast of 11 economists surveyed by Bloomberg between April 27 and May 5.

Industrial output fell 2.9 percent in April from March, when it surged 10.7 percent. (Bloomberg)

Russian Planes for Venezuela

Venezuela may replace its fleet of U.S. warplanes with Russian-made jets in response to the Bush administration's decision to ban arms sales to the country, RIA-Novosti reported, citing Venezuelan General Alberto Muller Rojas.

"We are considering procuring Russia's Su-35 fighter aircraft to replace our U.S. F-16s after the U.S. banned weapons exports to Venezuela'' two days ago, Rojas, an adviser to President Hugo Chavez, told the agency in Buenos Aires. (Bloomberg)

Boeing to ISS?

Boeing is planning more joint-ventures in Russia and may buy a stake in one of the country's aerospace companies, Senior Vice President Thomas Pickering said Tuesday.

Boeing is planning "brand new joint- ventures" as well as expansion in areas where it is already active such as the International Space Station, Pickering said in an interview Wednesday in Moscow.

Boeing is forming a joint-venture with Russia's VSMPO-Avisma, the world's largest titanium producer, to make titanium parts for Boeing aircraft. The companies reached a preliminary agreement April 14.

Pickering said there will be more Russian joint-ventures and that Boeing may acquire a stake in a Russian company. He declined to elaborate. (Bloomberg)

Sistema in Romania

AFK Sistema will move production of Intracom Holdings SA's telecommunications unit to Romania from Greece, newspaper Imerisia reported, citing Sistema CEO Alexander Goncharuk.

Goncharuk told reporters the final agreement to buy 51 percent of the Intracom unit would be signed at the end of the month, the newspaper said. Intracom officials wouldn't comment on the plan to move production to Romania, where Intracom already has a local unit, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)