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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Estonia Calls for Land Pipe

JURMALA, Latvia -- Estonia said Wednesday it would back an overland pipeline to take gas from Russia to western Europe and that the undersea version planned by Gazprom-led Nord Stream was for political reasons.

Estonia last month rejected an application for survey work in its maritime economic zone by Nord Stream, which includes Germany's BASF and E.On.

"There are lots of environmental concerns because the International Maritime Organization has declared the Baltic Sea area as very fragile," said Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, explaining why his country rejected the survey. "The main alternative for the pipeline has not been properly investigated, which is the mainland, and not the fragile Baltic Sea." (Reuters)

VimpelCom Wins Case

VimpelCom said a court in Moscow ruled in its favor Wednesday in the last of three claims shareholder Telenor had filed over VimpelCom's expansion in Ukraine.

The Federal Arbitration Court of the Moscow District upheld VimpelCom's purchase of Ukrainian Radio Systems, Ukraine's fourth-largest cellular operator, VimpelCom said in a PRNewswire-FirstCall statement. (Bloomberg)

Minister Warns Kashagan

Kazakhstan may sue Eni's Kashagan venture if it sticks to its present budget, Kazakh Energy Minister Sauat Mynbayev said Wednesday.

"If they insist on their plan and don't make any changes, we're ready to go to arbitration court," Mynbayev said in an interview at an energy conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and Eni chief executive Paolo Scaroni plan talks with President Nursultan Nazarbayev during an official visit to Astana on Monday. (Bloomberg)

Belarus Mulls Estonia's Oil

Belarussian Prime Minister Sergei Sikorsky said Wednesday that his country was considering importing crude oil via Lithuanian oil terminals Klaipedos Nafta and Butinge, which is owned by PKN Orlen.

Lithuania suggested that Minsk import crude via Klaipedos after Transneft halted supplies to Belarus for several days in January amid a clash over a newly introduced export duty.

"As you know, the pipeline, which goes via Belarus towards Butinge terminal, remains idle. There are certain projects [on crude imports], which could be realized with the use of tankers and sea terminals, including Lithuanian ones," Sikorsky told reporters. (Reuters)

TGK-2 Picks Deutsche

TGK-2, a power and heating utility supplying northwest Russia, has picked Deutsche Bank to become the depositary bank for a global depositary receipt program planned in November.

Deutsche Bank beat Bank of New York Mellon, the world's largest custodian of investor assets, Citigroup and JPMorgan for the contract, Yaroslavl-based TGK-2 said in a statement Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

Uralkali Sets Price Range

Potash maker Uralkali will sell shares for $2.80 to $3.50 each as the main owner Dmitry Rybolovlev seeks to raise funds for other ventures.

Uralkali also priced an offering of London-listed global depositary receipts at $14 to $17.5 apiece, the Berezniki-based company said Wednesday in a statement. One GDR represents five shares. (Bloomberg)

Swine Fever Now in Armenia

ROME -- African swine fever, a contagious viral disease in pigs, is spreading from Georgia to Armenia, a UN food agency said Wednesday, urging increased surveillance on the movement of animals. The Food and Agriculture Organization said the virus had hit northern Armenia and the outskirts of the capital, Yerevan.

"The EU, Russia, Ukraine and other countries have a serious problem on their doorsteps that needs to be urgently addressed," FAO's chief veterinary officer, Joseph Domenech, said in a statement. (AP)

Ukraine GDP to Rise 7.4%

KIEV -- Ukraine's economy is likely to grow by 7.4 percent this year, analysts say, faster than in 2006 and beating the government's forecast, while inflation is likely to rise to 10.8 percent, exceeding a government target.

The economy grew 7.5 percent in the first eight months of the year against 5.7 percent in the same period last year. In 2006 it grew 7.1 percent. (Reuters)

Baltika Sells More Clothes

Estonian clothes maker and retailer Baltika on Wednesday said sales rose 40 percent in September as revenue jumped in Russia.

Sales increased to 117.9 million krooni ($11 million) from 84.5 million krooni a year earlier, the Tallinn-based company said. (Bloomberg)