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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

United Aircraft Eyes EADS

United Aircraft Corporation, a state-controlled company that combines major Russian aircraft designers and producers, said it was offering to buy the 10 percent stake in Irkut held by the European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co. for about $107.5 million.

United Aircraft, which owns more than 50 percent of Irkut, has sent the documents on the offer to the Federal Financial Monitoring Service for its review, the company said in a statement Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

Venezuela Arms Deal Talks

Russia is holding talks with Venezuela to supply it with mobile air defense missile systems, Interfax reported Tuesday, citing a defense sector source.

From 10 to 12 Tor-M1 missile systems could be supplied to Venezuela at the initial stage, Interfax said, citing a an unidentified source. A spokesman for the state-controlled arms trading monopoly refused to comment on the report. (AP)

Belarus Raises Key Rate

MINSK -- Belarus's central bank will raise its key refinancing rate to 11 percent from 10 percent effective Feb. 1 as the bank expects inflation to quicken following a nearly two-fold increase in prices for Russian natural gas.

"We have a forecast that inflation in January will be higher. Energy prices have grown. The economy ministry raised domestic prices for gas and electricity. … That's why we adopted such, maybe a preventive, measure," a central bank official said. (Reuters)

Casino Firm Refutes Report

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- South Africa's biggest casino operator, Sun International, is pressing ahead with a major development plan in Moscow despite a new federal gambling law, it said Tuesday.

In a statement, Sun International denied a newspaper report that it had dropped the project, saying it "would remain engaged in order to advance this potential opportunity," but said the project would take longer than anticipated. (Reuters)

Firms Miss Out on Mergers

Russian companies missed out on $50.2 billion of asset purchases abroad last year, 19 percent more than the total value of mergers over the period, Mergers & Acquisitions magazine reported.

At least 13 mergers were canceled last year by foreign partners after Russian companies had won privatization tenders and reached preliminary agreements, the magazine said in a statement, citing data from its M&A Intelligence group. Russian businessmen were accused of being unpredictable, untrustworthy and too politicized, analysts said, the magazine reported . (Bloomberg)

LUKoil Denies Well Closure

LUKoil said all wells operated by a venture with Kazakh state oil company KazMunaiGaz were working as normal, denying a statement Tuesday on the Kazakh prosecutor general's web site.

Regional environmental prosecutors had ordered the wells shut and three construction sites closed down in October last year over environmental and building code violations. (Bloomberg)

Transneft Adds Cargo

Pipeline monopoly Transneft has changed its February oil export plan for a second time over the past week, adding four more cargoes to its final schedule compared with the earlier plans.

The final plan signed by Transneft showed that overall Russian seaborne exports would decline from January by around 90,000 barrels per day, to 3 million bpd. (Reuters)

VTB To Set IPO Terms

Vneshtorgbank will set the terms of an initial public offering of shares for retail investors within two or three weeks, the head of the bank's retail arm said Tuesday.

State-owned VTB plans to float a stake of up to one-quarter on the London and Moscow stock markets in May in a deal that analysts say could raise $4 billion or more. The basic parameters of the retail offering will include a minimum order size and require investors to say how much they are prepared to invest. (Reuters)

Yukos Plans Plant Upgrade

The Kuibyshev refinery, controlled by the bankrupt oil firm Yukos, will invest $102 million in 2007 in modernizing its equipment to meet higher fuel standards, the plant said Tuesday.

"The modernization programs will allow the refinery to lower the content of sulphur, benzol and aromatic hydrocarbons in gasoline and diesel and increase volumes of high-octane gasoline and refining depth," the plant said in a statement. The refinery plans to start production of Euro-4 diesel in the third quarter of 2007. (Reuters)

RusAl Predicts Output Rise

Russian Aluminum, the world's No.3 aluminum producer, expects 2007 output of the metal to rise 7.2 percent to nearly 3 million tons after launching smelters in Siberia and Nigeria, the company's CEO Alexander Bulygin said Tuesday.

RusAl expects 2007 revenues to be stable after rising 23 percent last year on high world prices for the metal used in cooking foil and cars. (Reuters)

TMK, Corinth Joint Venture

LONDON -- Seversky Pipe Plant, a unit of TMK, has formed a joint venture with Corinth Pipeworks, or CPW, of Greece, to produce over 200,000 tons of pipes annually, TMK said Tuesday.

The TMK-CPW venture, aimed at meeting demand from Russian and CIS companies for pipes used in the production and transportation of oil and gas, is set to start production in the second quarter of 2007. (Reuters)

Norilsk Output Steady

Norilsk Nickel on Monday forecast steady nickel output and a significant drop in precious metals production in 2007 as it embarks on major reconstruction work.

Norilsk said its Arctic mines would this year produce between 240,000 and 245,000 tons of nickel -- which is trading at record-high prices. Output in 2006 was 244,000 tons. (Reuters)

Telenor Wins Board Ruling

HELSINKI -- Norwegian phone company Telenor said the Geneva Arbitration Tribunal ruled that the company can name five directors to the board of VimpelCom.

The tribunal also ruled that Alfa Group could nominate a maximum of four directors to VimpelCom's board, Telenor said Tuesday in a statement. (Bloomberg)

Russian Alcohol Plans IPO

Russian Alcohol, a vodka producer, is considering an initial public offering, Interfax reported, citing Deputy General Director Vladimir Ivanov.

The company will set the schedule for the sale depending on market conditions, Ivanov said Tuesday without giving a possible size for the offering. Russian Alcohol aims to raise production by 50 percent, to 12 million decaliters of vodka this year, the company said Jan. 22 on its web site. (Bloomberg)