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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Gazprom Seeks Steelmakers

ST. PETERSBURG -- A group led by Gazprom has invited six pipe makers to bid in a $1.2 billion tender to supply pipes for its undersea pipeline from Russia to Germany, an executive said Wednesday.

The group's technical director, Sergei Serdyukov, said the tender would close Jan. 30 with results expected before March 30.

"We have to choose at least three [winners] from six [bids]," he said. (Reuters)

MegaFon Subscribers Surge

MegaFon, the country's third-largest mobile phone operator, said Wednesday that its subscriber base reached more than 30 million people in January, an increase of 32 percent over the past year.

Russian mobile phone companies -- including the two largest, Mobile TeleSystems and VimpelCom -- increased their total subscriber base in the country to 151.9 million in December. (Bloomberg)

Evraz Finishes Oregon Buy

LOS ANGELES -- Evraz Group, Russia's largest steel producer, said it completed its $2.3 billion cash acquisition of Oregon Steel Mills.

Evraz offered to buy Oregon Steel for $63.25 per share in November and extended the offer earlier this month, the steelmaker said in a statement distributed by PR Newswire. (Bloomberg)

Nestle Plant in Ukraine

KIEV -- Nestle, the world's biggest food maker, will invest as much as $50 million in building a new factory in western Ukraine as its seeks to increase production, Interfax reported Wednesday.

The plant will produce sauces, ketchup and baby food, the agency reported. The company plans to hire 1,200 workers for the plant, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

Kazakh Oil Export Route

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan's national oil company said Wednesday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with several international companies outlining a new export route for its oil, using tankers to transport the oil across the Caspian Sea.

KazMunaiGaz said in a statement that the deal foresaw using taking oil to a terminal on the Caspian coast, where tankers would take the crude to Azerbaijan for pumping into the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. (AP)

Kazakhs Mull Europe Road

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan is considering a $2.3 billion Chinese bid to help build a highway across the country, allowing freight to be driven directly from producers in China to European markets.

China Road & Bridge Corp. bid to reconstruct roads on the Kazakh stretch of a proposed 8,445-kilometer highway from Lianyungang in China through Almaty in Kazakhstan to St. Petersburg and on to Europe, the Kazakh government said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

Naspers Buys Stake

LONDON -- Naspers, South Africa's largest media company, bought a 30 percent stake in the owner of Russian web site for $165 million.

The company bought the stake in from Digital Sky Technologies and Tiger Global Management, Naspers said Wednesday in a statement. Digital Sky Technologies and Tiger Global Management will remain shareholders in after the sale. (Bloomberg)

CRT Opens Drug Stores

Chain of Retail Trade plans to open 300 drugstores in Moscow and the surrounding area by next year after selling 25 Kopeika discount food outlets, Vedomosti reported Wednesday, citing company director Igor Pletnyov.

CRT will spend $90 million raised from selling the Kopeika stores to start an A5 drugstore network in the Russian capital, Pletnyov told the newspaper. CRT opened 14 outlets in the past month and plans to add 100 this year. (Bloomberg)

Sugar Flows to Russia Steady

LONDON -- Raw sugar flows to Russia are higher than expected due to continuing talk that the import duty may rise, while Indian white sugar exports have been slow since the removal of an export ban, dealers said Wednesday.

Trade talk that Russia, the world's top raw-sugar importer, might raise its import tariff to $270 per ton from $140 as the country gradually moves towards self-sufficiency has sparked increased import demand, they said. (Reuters)

Tajikis Accuse RusAl

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- Tajikistan on Wednesday accused Russian Aluminum of stalling a $1 billion hydroelectric plant project that is crucial for the impoverished ex-Soviet republic's economic future.

RusAl had failed to fulfill even "a single point" of the contract that it had signed in 2004 to complete the construction of the Rogun power plant, Tajik Energy Minister Sherali Gulov said. (AP)