. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Varied Gas Tax Proposed

The country may introduce a variable tax rate to encourage gas production in 2009, Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Kirill Androsov said Friday. The government is working on setting scaled rates to encourage companies to develop harder-to-reach deposits, Androsov said. Officials have not determined the criteria for setting the tax rates.

Gazprom, ExxonMobil and other producers have urged the government to provide tax breaks for fields in severe climates or offshore. Officials earlier this year said they were considering increasing the tax as the government begins raising the caps set on domestic gas prices. (Bloomberg)

SocGen Buys Soyuznik

PARIS -- Societe Generale, France's largest bank, said Friday that its insurance unit received Russian regulatory approval to complete the acquisition of an insurance company and the establishment of another.

Societe Generale Insurance said in a statement that it was buying Soyuznik, which insures payments, and is creating Sogecap Life Insurance, a life insurance company. No values were given in the statement. (Bloomberg)

Georgian Inflation at 9%

TBILISI, Georgia -- Georgia's annual inflation rate rose to 9 percent in September as prices advanced for food, non-alcoholic beverages and fuel, the state-run statistics office said Friday.

The annual rate rose from 7.7 percent in August, the statistics office said. Consumer-price growth accelerated to a monthly 1.2 percent, compared with a rise of 0.6 percent in August.

The government has said it wants to keep the annual inflation rate below 8 percent in 2007. (Bloomberg)

KIT Profit Rises 37%

KIT Finance, an investment bank that may sell shares next year, said Friday that its first-half profit rose 37 percent to a record as assets appreciated.

Net income climbed to 3.8 billion rubles ($146 million), KIT said in a statement, without giving a comparative figure. The value of assets held by the bank rose 58 percent to 118 billion rubles in the period.

Chief executive Alexander Vinokurov said last month that the bank sought to raise as much as $1 billion selling stock in Russia and London next year. (Bloomberg)

Dresdner Expands Unit

FRANKFURT -- Dresdner Bank aims to expand its private wealth management business in Russia, Die Welt newspaper reported Friday.

The bank is considering basing wealth managers in Moscow and in St. Petersburg, Die Welt said, citing an interview with Andreas Georgi, a Dresdner Bank management board member. (Bloomberg)

Wild Orchid Plans IPO

Wild Orchid, a lingerie retailer, is planning an initial public offering in 2009, company president Alexander Fyodorov said, Interfax reported Friday.

The retailer may sell more than one-quarter of its stock in Moscow and London, Fyodorov said, the service reported. The company plans to have a store in Italy by the end of the year, Fyodorov said. Wild Orchid opened its first outlet in Britain in August. (Bloomberg)

Sberbank $1Bln Eurobond

Sberbank plans to place a eurobond worth $1 billion later this year, Interfax quoted banking sources as saying Friday.

Sberbank had earlier this year said it had no immediate borrowing plans. (Reuters)

Tele2 Buys Telecom Eurasia

STOCKHOLM -- Tele2 said Friday that its Russian unit had bought Telecom Eurasia from SMARTS for about 160 million Swedish crowns ($24.60 million) on a cash and debt-free basis. The telecoms operator said in a statement that Telecom Eurasia operated a GSM license in the Krasnodar region, which has a population of 5.1 million. (Reuters)

Vekselberg's TGK-9 Stake

KES, the investment vehicle of billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, said Friday that it had raised its stake in power generator TGK-9 to over 30 percent and offered a share buyout to minority shareholders.

KES said in a statement that it was offering to buy out shares at 0.7244 kopeks, or around $509 per kilowatt. (Reuters)

X5 Plans $1.5Bln Loan

Leading food retailer, X5 Retail Group plans to raise a $1.5 billion loan to refinance debt and fund its corporate needs, Interfax quoted a source as saying Friday.

Interfax quoted the source as saying X5 planned to attract the loan from banks in two almost-equal tranches for three and five years. The source also said X5 would name the organizers of the loan on Oct. 24, the service reported. (Reuters)

Forum Bank Raises $90M

KIEV -- Ukrainian bank Forum said Friday that it had raised a $90 million, one-year syndicated loan that can be extended for another year.

The loan is priced at the London interbank offered rate plus 1.65 percent annually and was arranged by Fortis, Bayern LB and Commerzbank. (Reuters)

Kazakhs Fine AES $200M

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan is seeking $200 million from AES, a U.S.-based power producer, for anti-monopoly violations, the country's Industry Ministry said in a statement Friday.

Michael Jonagan, the head of AES's local unit, called the claims "groundless," in a telephone interview.

"We disagree with and are disputing the Competition Protection Committee's claims,'' Michael Jonagan, the head of AES's local division, said in a statement Saturday. (Bloomberg)

Krupp in Kazakhstan

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- ThyssenKrupp, Germany's largest steelmaker, plans to build a $25 million plant in Kazakhstan to supply the country's booming oil industry, Zeinulla Kaziyev, an adviser to Kazakhstan's oil-rich Magnistau region, said in an interview late Thursday.

ThyssenKrupp and local partner Imstalkon are expected to complete construction of the factory in Aktau by the end of 2008, Kaziyev said. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

Prof-Media said Friday that Yulia Solovyova, its former head of strategic and corporate development, has been appointed as its general director, Interfax reported Friday. (MT)

Fixed-line telecoms operator Comstar said Friday that it had appointed Irina Matveyeva as chief financial officer with immediate effect. (Reuters)