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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Oil Exports Diverted

Pipeline monopoly Transneft confirmed Friday a sizeable boost in oil export plans from Ukraine's Black Sea ports to compensate for cuts in supplies to Lithuania, which will get no crude for August.

A Transneft shipping schedule showed Odessa would get 970,000 tons instead of the initial plan of 570,000 tons, as state oil firm Rosneft was given four 80,000-ton additional cargoes and LUKoil got one.

In Yuzhny, which had been initially allocated only one 80,000-ton cargo for TNK-BP, Rosneft was also given three extra 80,000-ton cargoes and LUKoil was allotted two. TNK-BP did not feature in the revised schedule.

The changes amount to a net increase of 720,000 tons per month, or 170,000 barrels per day, which is about 70 percent of the 250,000 bpd that Russia usually pipes to Lithuania's export terminal of Butinge and the Mazeikiu refinery. (Reuters)

Car Plant Halted

Private carmaker Avtotor has postponed construction of a car plant that would build China's Chery models, Vedomosti reported Friday.

Avtotor froze the project because the government planned to revoke the duty-free status on the car components Avtotor uses, the report said.

Earlier this year, Avtotor, which is located in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, said it had started building a new, $200 million assembly plant that would have an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles. (MT)

Saakashvili Offers Program

TBILISI, Georgia -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili presented a new economic plan aimed at curbing unemployment and streamlining the government.

Unemployment is the main problem for the country of 4.4 million, Saakashvili said during a televised address late Friday. Official statistics put the jobless rate at 12 percent to 13 percent, but the government says the real level is likely much higher as many unemployed do not register with authorities.

Saakashvili pledged to cut unemployment in half within two to three years by starting government-sponsored training programs. He also promised to further streamline his administration by merging customs and tax bodies with financial police. (AP)

Sovcomflot Income Soars

State-owned shipping company Sovcomflot, slated to merge with rival Novorossiisk Shipping, said first-half net income soared 43 percent, to $86.1 million, Interfax reported, citing the company's press service.

Revenue rose 25 percent, to $246.3 million, Interfax said.

Sovcomflot said its performance improved in the period, given a decline in hire rates in its normal charter markets of between 5 percent and 17 percent, the news agency reported.

No second-quarter or year-earlier details were available, and phone calls to Sovcomflot's press office went unanswered Sunday. (Bloomberg)

$1Bln Tunnel in St. Pete

The government will help build a 940-meter-long automobile tunnel under the Neva River in St. Petersburg to ease traffic congestion and increase river navigation.

The government will provide two-thirds of the required 26.4 billion ruble ($985 million) investment, the city government said Sunday on its web site. Construction of the Orlov tunnel under the Smolnaya and Sverdlov embankments will start in the fourth quarter.

The tunnel will enable bridges over the Neva to stay open one hour longer, for about 3.5 hours per night during summer navigation, Portnews online service reported Sunday, citing St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Yury Molchanov. Longer openings will allow vessel navigation to rise 30 percent, RIA-Novosti reported. (Bloomberg)

Stockmann Plans 5th Store

Stockmann, a Finnish department store operator, plans to invest 12 million euros ($15.4 million) in opening its fifth store in Moscow.

The store will be located in the Metropolis shopping center, which is being built in central Moscow, the Helsinki-based company said Sunday in a statement.

Stockmann aims to open the store in 2008 and estimates sales of about 30 million euros in the first full year of operation. (Bloomberg)

Deripaska Bid for Jaguar?

LONDON -- Oleg Deripaska, Russia's sixth-richest man, is considering a bid for British carmaker Jaguar, the Sunday Express reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Deripaska recently teamed up with Martin Leach, the former head of Ford Motor in Europe, to help with the international development of GAZ, Russia's largest car manufacturer, the newspaper said.

GAZ declined to comment, the paper said. An unidentified spokesman for Deripaska said he would not rule out a bid for Jaguar, which is owned by Ford, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

PKN on Mazeikiu Purchase

WARSAW -- PKN Orlen, Poland's largest oil refiner, will ask U.S. and Ukrainian anti-monopoly regulators to approve its purchase of Lithuania's Mazeikiu Nafta, the only oil refiner in the Baltic states.

PKN, based in Plock, in central Poland, decided it needed approval from those countries after examining data on Mazeikiu's exports. PKN does not expect the process to delay the purchase, which it hopes to complete by the end of next March, it said Friday in a statement to the Warsaw Stock Exchange. (Bloomberg)