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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Belarus Asks for Loan

MINSK -- Russia will study a request by Belarus for a $1.5 billion loan this year to help pay higher prices for Russian natural gas and oil, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Thursday.

"The government is ready to consider the issue of the loan. Its size, terms and all the rest should be a subject for talks," Gref told reporters. (Reuters)

Managers for State Venture

A new Russian state company for promoting investment will hire private managers for venture capital funds of at least 600 million rubles ($23 million) each, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Thursday.

Russian Venture Company, created by the government in August, will take bids from managers March 25 to April 15, Gref said. The firms that win the tender will set up venture funds to channel investment into aviation, energy conservation, biomedical and other innovative technologies, he said. (Bloomberg)

Pacific Pipeline Decision

TOKYO -- Moscow will delay a decision on extending a planned oil pipeline from east Siberia to the Pacific coast until it confirms that there will be enough oil to fill it, a Japanese newspaper reported Friday.

"I think the reserves can be proven by the end of 2008 and then we can make the official decision on when to start construction," the Mainichi newspaper quoted Energy and Industry Minister Viktor Khristenko as saying. (Reuters)

Gazprom Seeks $2Bln Loan

LONDON -- ABN Amro and Societe Generale are the mandated lead arrangers on the $2 billion dual-tranche syndicated loan for gas monopoly Gazprom, a banking source said Thursday.

Earlier this month a banking source said ABN Amro was leading the deal with another identified bank.

Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, including acquisitions. (Reuters)

Gazprom-Bolivia Gas Deal

Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer, signed a memorandum of understanding with Bolivia's Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos to find joint projects for gas exploration, production and transport.

YPFB CEO Manuel Morales Olivera and Stanislav Tsygankov, Gazprom's director of foreign relations, signed an agreement to create a joint committee within 30 days to identify opportunities to exploit gas reserves in Bolivia, to build and maintain gas and oil pipelines, and to modernize refineries, YPFB said late Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

Azeris' Boeing Orders

NEW YORK -- Boeing said Friday that Azerbaijan Airlines ordered three 787-8 Dreamliners and two extended range Next-Generation 737-900ERs in an order valued at $609 million at list prices.

Boeing plans to deliver all five aircraft in 2010, a spokeswoman said. Azerbaijan Airlines will operate the 787s on routes to Asia, Southeast Asia and North America, while the 737-900ERs will be used on routes to Europe, Russia and other regional destinations, the company said. (Reuters)

Oil Export Tax to Fall

Russia will probably cut its tax on crude oil exports by $3.40 per barrel, or $25 per ton, starting April 1, after the average oil price fell, Interfax said Thursday.

The tax will decline to about $155 per ton from the $179.80 rate set for February and March, said Alexander Sakovich, deputy head of the Finance Ministry's customs department, the agency reported. (Bloomberg)

Yakunin's China Pledge

Russia hopes to send as much as 15 million tons, or 300,000 barrels per day, of crude oil by rail to China this year, Russian Railways chief Vladimir Yakunin said Thursday, repeating the target it missed last year.

Last year Russia only sent 10.3 million tons by rail to China, the third year in a row it had missed its target, as mounting oil export duties made the long and expensive railway route even less attractive for oil exporters. (Reuters)

Norilsk Cuts Borrowing

Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest producer of nickel, slashed its borrowing costs by one-third as surging prices for the metal boost the company's profit.

Norilsk on Thursday signed a $450 million five-year revolving credit with a group of banks led by Barclays Capital, Societe Generale and ING Group, the company said in a news release. (Bloomberg)

TVR Buys Blackpool Assets

LONDON -- TVR Engineering, a British sports-car maker, bought back the main assets of Blackpool Automotive, which it sold last year, drawing criticism from unions representing former workers of the company, the Financial Times reported Saturday, citing the Transport and General Workers' Union.

Nikolai Smolensky, who owns TVR, bought the assets at an auction with four bidders after selling the company's automotive division and resigning as its director Dec. 13, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

Advertising Exchange Plans

Russia may create an advertising exchange that will trade advertisement space and time and help make prices more transparent in a growing industry.

"We are at the discussion stage," Sergei Puzyrevsky, head of the department in charge of advertisement legislation control at the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, said Thursday. "If the market does not support us, we will look for other alternatives." (Bloomberg)

For the Record

BRUSSELS -- The European Union may lower a tariff on Novolipetsk Steel after the company acquired VIZ Stal, which does not face a similar EU duty. (Bloomberg)

Synergy, the country's fourth-largest alcohol producer, is planning an IPO in October as it works to meet a goal of raising sales by 55 percent this year. (Bloomberg)

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Renova Group, an investment group controlled by billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, has bought a controlling stake in Kyrgyzstan's Kara Balta ore mining plant, which produces uranium, an official said Thursday. (Reuters)