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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Norilsk Approves New CEO

Norilsk Nickel's board has unanimously approved Denis Morozov as the company's new CEO, Norilsk said ­Friday.

Norilsk co-owner Mikhail Prokhorov tendered his resignation Thursday as CEO to focus on energy projects. He recommended his deputy Morozov, who is also a board member at Polyus Gold, spun off by Norilsk last year, as his ­successor.(Reuters)

Surgut Dividend Seen Down

Surgutneftegaz is likely to slightly cut its dividends for 2006, analysts said ­Friday, citing recent weak profit reports by the company.

The firm is due to approve the payment, which will be based on net income to Russian accounting standards, at its annual shareholders meeting May 5. The record date is March 17.

"We expect Surgut, at best, to retain its current dividends at level equal to the dividends paid for 2005, suggesting a three percent dividend yield," UralSib said in a research note. (Reuters)

Eni Eyes Stake in Novatek

MILAN, Italy -- Eni may buy as much as 20 percent of Russia's second-largest natural gas producer Novatek from Gazprom, MF newspaper reported Friday, citing no one.

Eni, Europe's fourth-biggest oil company, is considering a 10 percent stake, which would be worth 1.2 billion euros based on Novatek's share price, the ­Italian newspaper reported. Gazprom, the world's largest producer of natural gas, bought 19.4 percent of Novatek in September. (Bloomberg)

$1.4M Spent on Lobbying

Russian-linked companies Alfa Bank, the group formerly known as Menatep, and Norimet USA spent $1.4 million on lobbying services in the United States, Vedomosti said, citing a report published Thursday by the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.

Group Menatep, now known as GML Limited, spent $600,000 on ­lobbying the U.S. government through four companies, including APCO Worldwide, Vedomosti said. (Bloomberg)

UN Strikes Russian Firms

UNITED NATIONS -- The United Nations removed two firms from its list of contractors and suspended two others, including the big Russian air shipper Volga-Dnepr, during a probe of bribes to a former UN official.

The two struck from doing future business with the UN were Cogim, an Italian-based firm that builds prefabricated units, mainly for armed forces around the world, including the U.S. military, the UN web site reported. The second was the Avicos Insurance Company of Russia, the UN said Friday. (Reuters)

Airbus to Buy Less Titanium

Airbus may buy less titanium for its aircraft from VSMPO-Avisma next year than it will this year, Interfax ­reported Friday, citing VSMPO CEO Vladislav Tetyukhin.

Airbus is not enjoying "the best of times," Tetyukhin said in Verkhnaya Salda, the Ural Mountains city where the company is based, Interfax reported. VSMPO, controlled by arms exporter Rosoboronexport, is the world's largest producer of titanium. (Bloomberg)

VTB Nominates Directors

The board of the country's No. 2 bank, VTB, which plans an international IPO in May, has nominated two independent directors to its supervisory council, the bank said Friday.

The bank said on its web site that the board nominated Matthias Warnig, managing director of Nord Stream, and Yves-Thibault de Silguy, chairman of Vinci, a French construction and transport concession group. (Reuters)

Telekom Stake Sale Denied

BERLIN -- The German government, which owns 32 percent of Deutsche Telekom, denied that it was engaged in talks to sell a stake in ­Europe's largest phone company to a Russian company.

German news service Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported Thursday that Sistema is interested in buying a stake in Deutsche Telekom. (Bloomberg)

Iran, Armenia to Open Pipe

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran and Armenia will inaugurate a new gas pipeline between the two neighbors Monday, Iran's oil ministry web site said Saturday.

The move is part of Tehran's strategy to add new export markets. Iran plans to deliver 1.1 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Armenia this year through the pipeline, the volume rising to 1.5 billion in 2013 and 2.3 billion in 2026, the ministry said. (Reuters)

Ukrainian Trade Deficit

KIEV -- The Ukrainian trade deficit widened at a faster pace in January from the same month one year ago, as imports rose faster than exports.

The deficit widened to $492 million in the first month of the year compared with a $373 million shortfall a year ago, the Kiev-based state statistics agency reported Friday. Exports totaled $3.2 billion in January, while imports totaled $3.7 billion. (Bloomberg)

Vitol to Boost Terminal

RIGA, Latvia -- Vitol Group, developing Latvia's Ventspils Nafta's oil ­terminal, plans to raise the quality to ­international standards, the Latvian newspaper Dienas Bizness said Friday, citing an interview with Vitol president Ian ­Taylor.

"I hope that Ventpils Naftas Terminals will become the biggest terminal in all of northern Europe -- that is our goal," Taylor said, Dienas Bizness ­reported. (Bloomberg)