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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Putin Backs Simpler VAT

President Vladimir Putin will order the government to consider simplified rules for collecting value-added taxes, Interfax reported Thursday.

VAT is one of the most complicated taxes to administer, is time-consuming and fosters corruption, Boris Titov, chairman of Business Russia, was quoted by the agency as saying at a meeting with Putin.

If the simpler measures were applied, there would be no need to lower the tax from its current level of 18 percent, Titov said. (Bloomberg)

Oil Export Tax to Soar

The government will raise its tax on crude oil exports by 10 percent to a record on Dec. 1 after world fuel prices rose in September and October, a Finance Ministry official said Thursday.

The tax will increase to $275.40 per ton from $250.30 per ton, said Alexander Sakovich, deputy head of the Finance Ministry’s customs payment department. (Bloomberg)

Transneft Finalizes Plans

Pipeline monopoly Transneft has finalized its crude oil export schedule for November, broadly confirming a preliminary plan that foresees the lowest level of monthly exports over the past year.

A final export schedule obtained Thursday showed that oil exports from major sea ports will fall by 110,000 barrels per day in November versus October to 2.85 million bpd. (Reuters)

Gasunie Close to Pipe Deal

AMSTERDAM — Gasunie, the Dutch state-owned gas pipeline operator, will probably sign an agreement in Moscow next week for a stake in a natural-gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, the Netherlands’ economic affairs minister said in an interview Wednesday.

The signing is set to take place during Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende’s three-day visit to Moscow, where he will meet President Vladimir Putin. The visit begins Nov. 5. (Bloomberg)

Belarus Gas Link Opposed

Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said Thursday that he believed it made no economic sense to build a second stretch of a pipeline to Germany via Poland and Belarus, known as Yamal-Europe-2.

Khristenko’s statement contradicted an earlier comment by Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, who said last month that he supported revising the idea of the second link.

Belarus has called on Russia to drop the idea of a new pipeline to Germany under the Baltic Sea, known as Nord Stream, saying it would be more profitable to build a second parallel link to the existing onshore pipeline. (Reuters)

Siberian Pipeline Delayed

Completion of the East Siberian oil pipeline to Asian markets may be delayed by three to four months, Transneft chief executive officer Nikolai Tokarev said in an interview with Interfax.

Work on sections of the pipeline’s first phase is delayed because subcontractors aren’t meeting their contractual obligations, Tokarev said, Interfax reported. He said the delays were not related to the project’s financing, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Q3 Net Falls

Gazprom said Thursday that its net profit in the third quarter fell by 25 percent from the previous quarter to 55.47 billion rubles ($2.24 billion).

Gazprom said in a statement that its net profit under the Russian accounting standards stood at 73.72 billion rubles in the second quarter. (Reuters)

Refinery Restarts Work

Moscow Oil Refinery, the only crude processor in the capital, resumed normal operations Thursday, after scheduled maintenance reduced output to about half last month.

The refinery will process about 890,000 tons in November, spokeswoman Zoya Smirnova said. The refinery used reserves to meet demand in October, when output dropped to about 111,000 barrels per day, according to output figures on the refinery’s web site. (Bloomberg)

Transneft Payout Not to Rise

Crude oil pipeline operator Transneft isn’t planning to increase dividend payments, chief executive Nikolai Tokarev said, Interfax reported Thursday.

The company is focused on developing key infrastructural projects and is not planning to direct additional funds to dividend payments for its publicly traded preferred shares, Tokarev said, the agency reported. (Bloomberg)

Uralsvyaz Drops CLN Plan

YEKATERINBURG — Fixed-line telecom operator for the Urals Uralsvyazinform said Thursday that it had dropped plans to issue $100 million worth of credit-linked notes in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Company spokesman Valery Kostarev said two banks that had participated in a tender to organize the issue opted out because of worsened global financial market conditions. (Reuters)

Gazprom Looks to Africa

Gazprom said Thursday that it is in talks with “regional players and authorities” to expand in the Gulf of Guinea and also wants to develop operations in Angola.

“Historical ties and current geopolitical set-up make Gazprom a natural partner for national oil companies and independent operators,” said Christophe Gerard of Gazprom Netherlands. (Bloomberg)

Golden Telecom Evaluated

Voice and data services provider Golden Telecom may reach a market value of $10 billion to $15 billion, chief executive Jean-Pierre Vandromme said, Interfax reported Thursday.

Golden Telecom may increase its annual sales to $6 billion by 2010, compared with $1.24 billion expected this year, Vandromme said. (Bloomberg)

Image Bank Permit Revoked

The Central Bank on Thursday withdrew Image bank’s operating license for breaching banking regulations and failing to conform to anti-money laundering legislation.

Image bank did not provide satisfactory information on its financial transactions to the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, the agency formerly headed by Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, the Central Bank said in a statement on its web site.

The Central Bank also said the bank issued a 2.5 billion ruble ($100 million) loan to two clients in the second half of October, partly for the purchase of agricultural goods. (MT)

Transaero to Serve Skiers

Transaero, the closely held airline that plans to sell shares in 2008, will commence flights to Lyon, France, from Moscow on Nov. 3 to meet growing demand from Russian ski tourists, the company said Thursday in a statement.

Transaero will operate the service every Saturday and plans to introduce a second flight on Wednesdays from Dec. 26, the company said. Lyon is close to French Alpine resorts. (Bloomberg)