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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Gazprom Neft Profit Rises

Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Gazprom, reported a higher-than-expected first-half net profit Thursday, despite weaker sales.

The company said net profit to generally accepted accounting principles rose by 4 percent to $1.86 billion in the first half of 2007 from $1.79 billion in the same period last year, beating analysts' forecasts of $1.82 billion. (Reuters)

Imperial Energy Oil Find

LONDON -- Imperial Energy, a London-based oil explorer with most of its projects in Russia, said in a statement Thursday that a well in Siberia "identified promising intervals of oil."

The company drilled the Tamratskoye-3 at Block 85 in the Tyumen region, Imperial said. (Bloomberg)

Ignatyev Calm on Inflation

Central Bank chief Sergei Ignatyev said Thursday that "extraordinary measures" to curb inflation were not needed after consumer prices surged more than expected in September.

"No extraordinary measures are planned in the near future," Ignatyev told reporters after a meeting with European Central Bank head Jean-Claude Trichet, referring to the Central Bank's efforts to curb inflation. (Bloomberg)

Foreign Reserves Decline

Foreign currency and gold reserves, the world's third largest, fell from a record to $424.8 billion, the Central Bank said Thursday.

The reserves declined $300 million in the week to Oct. 5, the bank said in a statement. (Bloomberg)

Sulzer Bid Deferred

ZURICH -- Sulzer said in a statement Thursday that billionaire and largest shareholder Viktor Vekselberg would refrain from making any takeover bid until 2009 in return for getting two seats on the board of the Swiss pump maker.

Vekselberg increased his holding in Sulzer to 21 percent last month, prompting speculation that he will seek a merger with Swiss machinery maker Oerlikon. (Bloomberg)

Miners Hold Safety Talks

The Natural Resources Ministry's safety watchdog met with Evraz shareholders Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov to discuss ways to improve coal-mine safety, Interfax reported Thursday.

Konstantin Pulikovsky, head of the agency, said the talks were an important step toward establishing a dialogue with the owners, who hold ultimate responsibility for mine safety, rather than with the hired managers, who can walk away from the problem.

Earlier this year, two methane gas explosions at mines operated by Yuzhkuzbassugol, Evraz's subsidiary, killed around 150 miners. (MT)

Gazprom, Vemex Sign Deal

Gazprom signed a long-term gas delivery deal with its Czech arm, Vemex, saying the contract became possible after the Czech Republic liberalized its market from the start of 2007.

The deal for 2008 to 2012 was signed to deliver annually up to 500 million cubic meters of gas, Gazprom said in a statement late Wednesday. The deal can be extended by another 5 years.

Gazprom supplies the Czech Republic with the bulk of its gas needs, but most supplies usually go via the former monopoly, RWE Transgas. (Reuters)

Total Sees Deal on Kashagan

PARIS -- Total said Wednesday that an agreement with the Kazakh government to end a dispute over escalating costs and delays at Kashagan, the world's biggest oil discovery in 30 years, was possible by year-end.

"We would like an agreement by the end of the year," Total chief executive Christophe de Margerie said. "This should be a deadline. We would like it as quickly as possible." (Bloomberg)

TMK Pipe Sales Increase

TMK, the world's second-largest maker of pipes for the oil and gas industry, said in statement Thursday that sales advanced 6.3 percent in the first nine months of 2007 after it commissioned a rolling mill in Russia.

The company shipped 2.37 million tons of steel pipes, compared with 2.23 million tons in the same period last year, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Sibir Venture Output

Sibir Energy, the oil producer controlled by billionaire Shalva Chigirinsky, said Thursday that crude production at its Siberian joint venture with Shell had reached more than 96,800 barrels per day.

London-listed Sibir's total output, including its half of the Salym venture, has surpassed 55,000 bpd, chief executive Henry Cameron said in a statement. (Bloomberg)

X5 Sales Increase 20%

Leading food retailer X5 Retail Group said its third-quarter like-for-like sales rose by 20 percent in ruble terms and that it expected to exceed its $5 billion net sales target in 2007.

In a statement Thursday, X5 said same-store sales rose 26 percent in dollar terms, though it did not provide absolute figures. (Reuters)

Baltika Goes to Africa

Baltika Breweries said in a statement that it began exporting its beer to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Ivory Coast this month, Interfax reported Thursday.

The first consignment totaled 28,000 liters, with 15,000 and 13,200 liters destined for Congo and Ivory Coast, respectively, the agency reported.

The company is targeting the higher-earning consumers in the African countries, where the beer will sell for $1.20 to $2.50 per bottle. (MT)

Cersanit Buys Tile Makers

WARSAW -- Cersanit, Poland's biggest bathroom-fittings maker, bought five Russian tile makers for 43.5 million euros ($61.6 million), it said in a statement Thursday.

The company bought all the shares in Avtis, Zolotoi Iris, Tiles Trading, Lira Trade and Frianovo Ceramic Factory, it said. (Bloomberg)

China Pipe to Start in '08

BEIJING -- Russia has formally decided to start work next year on a gas pipeline to China's western Xinjiang province, a project delayed by disagreements over gas pricing, the China Business News reported.

Gazprom promised last year that it would build two major pipelines to China, but a senior executive said earlier this year that the plan was on hold until Beijing upped the price it was offering. (Reuters)

Rapala, Shimano Venture

HELSINKI -- The world's top fishing lure maker, Rapala, said Thursday that it would form a joint venture with Shimano and book a 4.8 million euro ($6.8 million) capital gain from the deal.

The joint venture, which would distribute Rapala and Shimano products in Russia and Ukraine, would acquire existing Rapala distribution companies in those countries. (Reuters)