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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Gazprom Share Transfer

Units of Gazprom, the world's biggest natural gas company, transferred about $10 billion of shares in the company to nominal holdings and may sell them within three years, Vedomosti said Wednesday, citing an unidentified manager familiar with the plan.

A Gazprom report on affiliated companies showed that units owned 3.04 percent of the company as of Dec. 31, 2006, down from 6.9 on Sept. 30, the newspaper said. Gerosgaz, a joint venture between Gazpromexport and E.On Ruhrgas, owns 2.9 percent, Vedomosti said. (Bloomberg)

Cambodia WTO Talks

Russia needs to hold talks with Cambodia over Moscow's accession to the World Trade Organization, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Wednesday.

Russia had earlier said it just needed to reach agreement with its tiny ex-Soviet neighbor Georgia to meet requirements for membership in the 150-member group, which sets global trade rules. German Gref said Cambodia in January had requested bilateral talks with Russia, however. (AP)

LUKoil Find in Colombia

LUKoil has found 100 million barrels of oil reserves on an exploration block in Colombia, the firm said Wednesday.

"This is the first discovery ever made by Russian oil men in the Western hemisphere," the company said in a statement, without saying whether the reserves were probable or recoverable. The discovery was made at the Medina exploration block, which is part of the bigger Condor deposit. (Reuters)

Polymetal IPO Prices Close

Polymetal, the latest Russian miner to list in London, priced its initial public offering at $7.75 per share Wednesday, close to the bottom end of its range.

The IPO price was published on Polymetal's web site and compares with the company's initial guidance of between $7.25 and $9.50, which was narrowed Tuesday to between $7.75 and $8.25. The pricing values Polymetal at $2.4 billion. (Reuters)

Energy Supplies May Be Cut

Moscow's energy retail company may limit supplies to the Moscow region Thursday due to the recent cold snap, Mosenergosbyt public relations official Sergei Kozlovsky said Wednesday, Interfax reported.

"The Moscow regional dispatcher plans to limit capacity from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. tomorrow by 227.6 megawatts," Kozlovsky said.

This amount is equivalent to about 1.3 to 1.5 percent of total usage at peak hours in cold periods. (MT)

Customs Code Amended

The fee for registering small products for export -- currently as much as 5,000 rubles ($188) -- might be canceled.

This step is part of a larger project being developed by the State Duma aimed at amending the country's Customs Code, Interfax reported Wednesday. Charges for registration are now determined by the price of goods -- from 500 rubles for products worth up to 200,000 rubles ($7,550), to 100,000 rubles for products worth more than 30 million rubles. The amendments are expected to be adopted sometime in 2007. (MT)

Uzbeks Pull Coscom License

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- Uzbekistan's telecoms regulator Wednesday suspended until Feb. 17 the license of U.S.-owned Coscom, the country's third-largest GSM mobile phone operator, after a communication breakdown hit most subscribers.

Coscom, 87 percent owned by U.S. telecoms firm MCT and serving 378,000 of Uzbekistan's 2.72 million mobile phone users, had been disconnected from international networks, said Almira Gataulina, spokeswoman for Uzbekistan's communications and information agency. (Reuters)

VimpelCom's Kazakh Plans

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Russia's second-biggest mobile phone firm, VimpelCom, aims to increase the number of subscribers in neighboring Kazakhstan at least 25 percent this year to over 5 million, the head of subsidiary Kar-Tel said Wednesday.

VimpelCom, which currently has 4 million subscribers in the Central Asian state of 15 million, owns local operator Kar-Tel and is represented in Kazakhstan by its Beeline and K-Mobile brands. (Reuters)

Russian Beer Restriction

Restrictions on imports of Russian beer to Belarus will be lifted from March 1, Belarussian news agency Belapan reported Wednesday, citing sources.

Access of Russian beer to the Belarussian market was limited in February 2003 as a protective measure for the local brewing industry. According to the original ruling, import and sale of Russian beer could only be effected through temporary state-owned warehouses. (MT)

Urals Raises Copper Output

Sredneuralsk Copper Plant, or SUMZ, and Svyatogor, units of the country's No. 2 copper firm, Urals Mining and Metals Co., or UMMC, increased blister copper output by 2.7 percent and 3.3 percent respectively in 2006.

UMMC said in a statement Wednesday that the SUMZ smelter increased 2006 blister copper output to 95,235 tons, from 92,773 tons one year earlier. (Reuters)

Nomos Plans Eurobond

ST. PETERSBURG -- Nomos Bank plans to issue a five-year eurobond for $300 million at the beginning of 2008 and is aiming for an initial public offering the same year, the bank's president said Wednesday.

"It will be bigger than the previous issue, somewhere in the region of $300 million," Dmitry Sokolov said. Nomos Bank on Jan. 26 priced a $200 million eurobond issue maturing in February 2010. (Reuters)

Finansbank to Sell Bonds

Finansbank, owned by Turkey's Fiba Group, will place the entire 3.5 billion ruble ($132 million) offering of its debut, three-year bond at auction Wednesday, an official at the issue organizer said.

The annual coupon rate for the first 1 1/2 years, with a put option, was set at 7.94 percent, the bank said in a statement. The official at Deutsche Bank said demand for the bond exceeded 4.2 billion rubles ($158.5 million). (Reuters)

Yandex Declares Profits

The Yandex Internet portal declared a twofold increase in profits in 2007, the company said in a news release Wednesday.

Preliminary estimates have put its earnings for last year at $72 million, much of which came off the back of a spike in online advertising over the period. More than 80 percent of the advertising on Yandex sites came from search-related content, while the remainder was composed of banner ads.

Vedomosti reported Friday that the Russian Internet advertising market could grow 60 percent in 2007 to reach $300 million. (MT)