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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

LUKoil, Rosneft Find Oil

Rosneft and LUKoil, the country's two biggest petroleum producers, found oil at a shared offshore project in the Azov Sea and raised their estimate for reserves at the site, LUKoil spokesman Vladimir Semakov said Wednesday.

Priazovneft, co-owned by Rosneft and LUKoil, drilled a test well that showed "positive results," and estimates for recoverable reserves at the site increased from the previous estimate of 3 million tons, Semakov said.(Bloomberg)

Minsk Faces Higher Gas Bill

MINSK -- Belarus may have to pay at least $125 per 1,000 cubic meters for Russian gas in 2008, up from $100 per 1,000 cubic meters currently, the Russian ambassador in the former Soviet country said Wednesday.

"I am of the opinion that it will be $125 to 150, closer to $125," ambassador Alexander Surikov said. (Reuters)

Gref's Nomination Opposed

Former Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref's nomination to run Sberbank was opposed by the current chief executive, Kommersant reported Wednesday.

Three Sberbank advisory board members, including chief executive Andrei Kazmin, voted against Gref at Tuesday's meeting, the newspaper said. Shareholders will vote on Gref's nomination Nov. 28. Eleven members of the board were present for the vote, Vedomosti said. (Bloomberg)

Chelyabinsk Plans Issues

Steel pipe maker Chelyabinsk Pipe Rolling Plant plans to raise 15 billion rubles ($602 million) by issuing two ruble bonds, an official from the company's parent group said Wednesday.

Chelyabinsk Pipe's board had approved a 7 billion ruble offering with a maturity of five years and an 8 billion-ruble bond with a maturity of seven years, the official said.

"The board of directors has made the decision, and the documents are being prepared," the official said, adding that the proposal had not yet been officially approved. (Reuters)

Pipe Firms Trumpet Sales

Chelyabinsk Pipe Works and Pervouralsky Novotrubny Works, the pipe producers controlled by billionaire Andrei Komarov's ChTPZ Group, had 15 percent more sales in the first nine months of the year, ChTPZ said in a statement Wednesday.

Chelyabinsk and Pervouralsky shipped 1.47 million tons of pipes and pipe products in January through September, ChTPZ said. Sales of large pipes used in the oil and gas industry grew 21 percent to 444,000 tons, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Sistema Ups Bank Stake

Services conglomerate Sistema said Wednesday that it had bought a further 28 percent of Dalkombank in the Far East for $11.7 million, raising its stake in the bank to 48.2 percent.

Sistema, whose key asset is the country's No. 1 mobile phone firm, Mobile TeleSystems, raised its stake from 20 percent, which it had acquired in August for $8.3 million. (Reuters)

Surgut Drops Plastics Plan

Surgutneftegaz, the country's fourth-largest oil producer, said Wednesday that it had abandoned plans for a polyethylene complex and that it might build a chemical fertilizer plant instead.

It is studying plans for a fertilizer plant in Surgut, in the Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous district, where the company is based, spokeswoman Raisa Khodchenko said. It will not build a polyethylene complex, because similar plants are being built in Nizhnekamsk and Budennovsk, she added. (Bloomberg)

Belon Production Grows

Belon, a coal miner and metals trader, said Wednesday that coal production grew 33 percent in the first nine months from the same period last year.

Belon produced 3.31 million tons of coal from January through September, the company said in a statement. It produced 1.92 million tons of steam coal and 1.4 million tons of coking coal, Belon said. (Bloomberg)

GDF Mulls Investments

PARIS -- French utility Gaz de France is considering investing in Russia's electricity sector, an executive said Wednesday.

"We are looking at the Russian electricity sector," said Jean-Marie Dauger, GDF's deputy chief executive. "Russia needs electricity and is looking for investors." He said that if Gaz de France invested, it would be in gas-fired power stations only. (Reuters)

OTP Eyes Russian Bank

BUDAPEST -- OTP Bank, Hungary's biggest lender, is interested in acquiring a Russian bank worth about $50 million, chief financial officer Laszlo Urban said, Napi Gazdasag newspapaer reported Wednesday.

The bank would finance the acquisition out of its own resources because current conditions on the credit market make it difficult to raise funds, Urban said at a conference in Vienna, the newspaper reported. (Bloomberg)

ICBC to Open Branch

BEIJING -- China's biggest bank, government-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, plans to open a branch next month in Russia, ICBC chairman Jiang Jianqing said, Xinhua news agency reported.

The opening is part of a global expansion drive that will also see the bank open its first U.S. branch, take over a bank in Sydney, Australia, and open branches in the Middle East in Dubai and Qatar, Xinhua reported. (AP)

KMG Unit Boosts Output

KazMunaiGas Exploration Production, the traded unit of Kazakhstan's state oil company, boosted production in the first nine months this year after purchasing half of a sister unit, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

KazMunaiGas EP pumped 7.76 million tons of crude, up from 7.12 million tons in the first nine months of last year, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Georgia May Ban Anelik

TBILISI, Georgia -- The Armenia branch of the Anelik money transfer system was warned Tuesday that it may be banned from the Georgia after the company made a banking conference presentation on Oct. 10 to 13 in the Armenian capital of Yerevan dealing with the breakaway region of Abkhazia.

The Georgian central bank objected that financial transactions with the region are "not controlled or licensed by Georgia," bank spokesman Giorgi Kalandadze said Tuesday. "They are considered to be money laundering and financing terrorism." (Bloomberg)

Ukraine Inflation Over 10%

Ukraine's inflation rate probably will breach 10 percent this year, spurred by food prices, central bank Governor Volodymyr Stelmakh said Wednesday.

Finance Minister Nikolai Azarov pledged on Tuesday that the inflation rate would not exceed 10 percent. The Cabinet's initial plan was to cut inflation to 7.5 percent. (Bloomberg)