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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Fund Hits $66.2Bln

The stabilization fund rose to a record 1.83 trillion rubles ($66.2 billion) in April, Interfax said, citing the Finance Ministry.

The government holds oil revenue in the fund, which rose to 1.68 trillion rubles in March. The fund is designed to curb inflation and cushion the economy when crude prices decline. Oil prices have doubled in the last two years. (Bloomberg)

Udmurtneft Auction Bids

The $2 billion-plus sale of a mid-sized oil unit by TNK-BP has attracted four binding bids, including from Chinese, Indian and Hungarian firms, Interfax reported Wednesday.

The agency quoted sources close to the tender as saying that China's Sinopec, Hungary's MOL, gas monopoly Gazprom's oil unit Sibneft and India's ONGC had submitted binding bids to buy Udmurtneft.

The agency said TNK-BP would choose the winner on May 6. TNK-BP spokesman Vladimir Bobylev declined to comment on the report. (Reuters)

Novorossiisk Port Closed

Russia's second-largest oil port, Novorossiisk, was closed to shipping Wednesday by high winds and rough seas in the Black Sea, local ship agents said.

North east winds as fast as 101 kilometers per hour closed in on the harbor, creating sea swells as high as 2 meters, said the agents, who did not want to be named. (Bloomberg)

Seals, Sturgeon Dead

Hundreds of sturgeon and seals were found dead on the shores of the Caspian Sea near Kazakhstan's Kalamkas oil field, Interfax reported.

The deaths were discovered during a helicopter patrol of the region by the Kazakh border service, Interfax reported, citing state television.

Authorities are seeking to determine if leaked crude oil caused the deaths, Interfax said. More than 800 sturgeon of various species, some endangered, and 72 seals were dead as of last night, the news service said.

Kalamkas is being developed by companies including ConocoPhillips, Eni, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Total, according to Eni's web site. (Bloomberg)

Australian Firm Forms JV

Australia's Integra Mining has formed a joint venture with Uzbekistan's metals and mining giant Navoisky to produce tungsten concentrate in the area near Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Interfax reported Wednesday.

Each side will invest $10 million in the Uzbek-based project, which will be called Ingichki Metals, with Integra controlling 51 percent and Navoisky 49 percent of the tungsten slag-processing venture.

Tungsten is used in electrical elements such as lamp filaments. (MT)

Norilsk Export Stoppage?

Norilsk Nickel, the leading mining company, expects exports from its main port to stop in June for a month, Interfax reported, citing spokesman Viktor Borodin.

The last two ships scheduled to dock at Dudinka, located in the Arctic Circle, will have to leave soon after May 20 because ice foes are expected on the Yenesei River beginning on June 5, Borodin told Interfax. (Bloomberg)

UES Output Up 4.6%

National power utility Unified Energy Systems boosted output an annual 4.6 percent in April to meet rising demand for electricity amid an eight-year economic boom.

Output advanced to 56.7 billion kilowatt hours in the period, UES said in an e-mail Wednesday, without giving the year-ago figure. Nationwide consumption in the month rose 3.9 percent to 78.2 billion kilowatt hours, meaning UES accounted for 73 percent of the total.

The company's coal and natural gas plants generated 47.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, while hydropower production was 9.1 billion kilowatt hours. Output in the first four months of the year rose 5.4 percent to 255 billion kilowatt hours. (Bloomberg)

Center Telecom Q1 Net Up

Center Telecom, a unit of fixed-line telephone operator Svyazinvest, said its first-quarter profit nearly doubled as the company cut costs including wages, Interfax said, citing a company filing.

Moscow-based Center Telecom net income soared 96 percent to 540.5 million rubles ($19.9 million), Interfax reported Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

North-West Profit Up 5%

North-West Telecom, the fixed-line operator for the Leningrad region, said its first-quarter profit rose 5.1 percent as the company lowered costs and benefited from a stronger market position.

Net income climbed to 670.1 million rubles ($24.7 million) under Russian accounting standards, the company said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday. Sales fell 2.2 percent to 4.8 billion rubles. (Bloomberg)

Airbus Seeks Joint Venture

The European Aeronautic, Defense & Space Co. is seeking a joint venture with Russia's United Aviation Corporation to convert Airbus A-320 passenger planes for cargo haulage, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported.

EADS plans to sign a contract with UAC at the Berlin air show in May, Handelsblatt said, without saying where it obtained the information. (Bloomberg)

Magnit Nets Profit in Q1

First-quarter net profit at the country's largest grocery discounter, Magnit, amounted to 8.9 million rubles ($326,400) in 2006 after a loss of 430,000 rubles in the fourth quarter of 2005, Magnit said on Wednesday. The figures were calculated to Russian accounting standards.

The chain, which raised $368 million in a local initial public offering last week, said in disclosure documents that rising profits from leasing premises and selling securities helped it turn profitable.

In the first quarter of 2005, Magnit posted a net profit of 110,000 rubles.

Magnit owned 1,500 outlets by the end of 2005 and added 74 more in the first quarter of 2006. (Reuters)

Kazakh Reserves Jump 12%

Kazakhstan's foreign currency and gold reserves rose a monthly 11.9 percent in April on oil revenue and greater international demand for the nation's currency, the tenge.

The National Bank of Kazakhstan's reserves rose to $12.4 billion in April, the Almaty-based bank said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. (Bloomberg)

Finnish Bank Eyes Russia

HELSINKI -- Finnish investment bank FIM Group will establish a wholly owned subsidiary for asset management and mutual fund operations in Russia, the firm said on Wednesday.

FIM said in a statement it expects to receive the necessary licenses from Russian authorities this year. (Reuters)