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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Belarus to Raise Transit Fee?

Belarus, which was cut off from Russian crude during a price dispute last month, will raise oil-pipeline transit fees by more than 30 percent, Interfax reported.

Fees along the Druzhba pipeline, the trunk line between Siberian oil fields and Western Europe, will rise by 35 percent to $3.50 per ton from Feb. 15, the agency reported from Minsk on Monday, citing an unidentified person in the Belarussian petrochemical company Belneftekhim. Fees for using other pipelines will also rise, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

Russia Bans British Poultry

Russia has banned imports of poultry products from Britain after the H5N1 strain of bird flu was found on a farm owned by Europe's largest turkey producer, officials said Monday.

The ban, which will take effect Tuesday applied to deliveries of live birds, eggs and bird meat as well as poultry feed and equipment for breeding, butchering and dressing, the Health Ministry's veterinary watchdog said in a statement. (AP)

Renova to Hike Spending

Renova-Media, a unit of Viktor Vekselberg's Renova, plans to triple spending as the company rolls out networks in regional centers.

The company, which provides cable television and broadband Internet services, plans to boost investment to $300 million in 2007 from $100 million last year, Yury Pripachkin, CEO of Renova-Media, told reporters Monday. (Bloomberg)

Lebedyansky Profits Rise

The country's largest juice producer, Lebedyansky, said Monday that its 2006 net profit rose 14 percent to $85.4 million compared with 2005.

The company said in a statement that 2006 revenues increased 38 percent to $710 million. The figures were preliminary, unaudited managerial estimates. (Reuters)

Polyus Gold Output Up

Polyus Gold, the country's largest gold miner, said Monday that output rose 17 percent last year on higher production from its main Olimpiada mine and the acquisition of a large mine in the Far East.

Polyus said in a statement that it produced 1.22 million ounces of gold in 2006, up from 1.04 million in 2005. Polyus accounted for 23 percent of Russia's 2006 gold output, which industry lobby the Russian Gold Industrialists' Union has calculated as 164.32 tons. (Reuters)

GV Gold Postpones Listing

GV Gold, the country's seventh-largest gold miner, has postponed a share listing in Moscow and London which it had hoped would value the company at more than $500 million, the company said Monday.

GV Gold, which operates a large Siberian gold mine, said the proposed initial public offering did not reflect the company's future prospects. It gave no other reason for the postponement. (Reuters)

Mordashov Sells Auto Stake

Steel billionaire Alexei Mordashov sold his 49.3 percent stake in Severstal-Avto to the company's General Director Vadim Shvetsov, RIA-Novosti said.

The transaction gives control of the carmaker, a unit of Mordashov's Severstal Group Holdings, which includes the country's biggest steel company, Severstal, to Shvetsov, whose stake increased to 58 percent, the agency said. (Bloomberg)

Socar Tenders Urals Crude

BAKU, Azerbaijan -- Azeri state oil firm Socar has announced a tender for 450,000 barrels of Russian Urals crude oil for loading at the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, the company said Monday.

The shipment will load Feb. 27 to Feb. 28. The result of the tender will be announced Feb. 9. The cargo will be Socar's first shipment from Novorossiisk this year as the firm scrapped its January crude exports from Novorossiisk, saying it needed more refined products for domestic heating needs amid a gas dispute with Russia. (Reuters)

UralSib Seeks $100M Loan

UralSib Bank hired Emirates Bank International and the British unit of India's ICICI Bank to help it borrow $100 million for its trade-finance business.

Emirates Bank and ICICI are book runners for the one-year loan, the Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based lender said in a statement Sunday. They began syndicating the debt to other banks on Feb. 1. (Bloomberg)

Korea Bank Eyes Russia

SEOUL, South Korea -- Korea Exchange Bank, controlled by Dallas-based Lone Star Funds, aims to start operations in countries such as India and Russia.

Korea Exchange Bank plans to open about 10 offices in these and other countries, the Seoul-based company said in a statement Monday. It did not provide further details. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil Board Change

ConocoPhillips proposed Donald Evert Wallette, the U.S. oil company's president of Russia and the Caspian region, as its representative on the board of LUKoil, in which it has a 20 percent stake.

Wallette would replace the U.S. company's former Russia chief Kevin Meyers, who held the post for ConocoPhillips until December of last year, the company said in a statement Monday. (Bloomberg)

TMK Buys Orsk Plant

TMK, the world's second-largest producer of steel pipes for the oil and gas sector, said Monday that it had bought a 75 percent stake in the Orsk Engineering Plant in the Orenburg region.

OMZ specializes in the production of tool joints for drilling pipes, couplings for tubing pipes and hydraulic cylinders for mobile drilling machines and provides services for oil and gas companies. (Reuters)

Unicredit Looks to Russia

TURIN, Italy -- Italy's Unicredit is looking at retail growth opportunities in Germany, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine, and a bit less in Italy, the bank's CEO Alessandro Profumo said Monday.

"We rule out the United States because we do not think we can do better than the Americans already do," he said, adding that "it is not the best moment" to be eyeing growth opportunities in China. (Reuters)

Channel One Goes Digital

Channel One state television will announce plans Tuesday for four digital television channels: Dom Kino, Vremya, TV-Nanny and Muzika.

Dom Kino will show color and black-and-white movies, while Vremya will feature well-known television personalities and TV-Nanny will be exclusively devoted to Russian-made animated cartoons, Channel One said in a statement Monday.

The digital channels will initially be hosted on NTV-Plus, and later switch to a new satellite service, the statement said. (MT)

Gaidamak May Buy Minrav

Arkady Gaidamak, a Russian-Israeli investor, is close to an agreement to buy most of Abraham Kuznitsky's controlling stake in real estate developer Minrav Holdings.

The two are in negotiations for Gaidamak to buy an unspecified "major part" of Kuznitsky's 74 percent holding in the company, Minrav said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Sunday. The two sides are valuing Minrav at $118 million, compared with a market capitalization of $75 million. (Bloomberg)

Apartments for Muscovites

Moscow passed a bill that requires developers to sell as much as half of newly built discount apartments in the city to its residents, Vedomosti reported.

Mayor Yury Luzhkov signed the "Affordable Housing for Muscovites" program through 2009 last week, the newspaper said last Tuesday. The city government said in November that 60 percent of new apartments in Moscow are sold to non-residents who often simply want to bet on the property market, Vedomosti said.

Developers can build inexpensive blocks in the city by signing contracts where they agree to give 40 percent of new apartments to the city and sell as much as 80 percent of the remainder to Moscow residents, Vedomosti reported. (Bloomberg)

Expensive Parking Spaces

Some Muscovites are paying more for parking spaces than for their own homes as a surge in automobile ownership in Europe's biggest city creates headaches for motorists, Kommersant said Thursday.

Parking spaces at an "economy-class" residential building in the Novogireyevo region went for an average $5,500 per square meter at an auction last Tuesday, almost one-third more than the average apartment price of $4,200 per meter, Kommersant said, citing auction organizer Vladimir Avekov.

Eleven of the 13 underground spaces in the auction sold for more than $100,000, the newspaper said.

"I still can't believe what happened," Avekov told Kommersant. (Bloomberg)