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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Fire Halts LUKoil Refinery



LUKoil's Volgograd oil refinery in southern Russia shut down one of its main processing units after a fire Saturday damaged equipment.

Firefighters contained the blaze within an area of about 500 square meters and extinguished it at 2:53 p.m. two hours after it broke out. No injuries were reported, LUKoil spokesman Dmitry Dolgov said, adding that the refinery's other units were operating at full capacity. (Bloomberg)




LUKoil Sues Petrol Retailer



LUKoil sued Bulgaria's Petrol AD for 90 million lev ($60 million) in damages as the companies disputed payments under a 2001 retail-fuel supply agreement, Petrol, a gasoline retailer, said Friday.

LUKoil's Bulgarian unit filed the suit after Petrol demanded repayment of 84 million lev within 20 days in a letter dated Feb. 13, Petrol said in a statement. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom Gets Low Rate



Gazprom raised $2 billion of loans at its cheapest-ever rate, helping to compensate for rising borrowing costs in the bond market.

Gazprom is paying less for five-year loans than for shorter term funding obtained last year, bankers familiar with the transaction said. By contrast, bondholders two weeks ago charged Gazprom seven basis points more than in November for securities. (Bloomberg)




Zambian Oil Sought



LUSAKA, Zambia -- Terralliance, a U.S. oil and gas exploration company, is among a number of companies that may prospect for oil in Zambia, the Zambia Daily Mail reported Thursday, citing mines deputy minister Maxwell Mwale.

Unidentified Russian and British companies have also contacted the Zambian government seeking further information on prospecting for oil in the northwest of the country, the Lusaka-based newspaper said. Zambia, Africa's largest copper producer, announced in October that it had discovered oil and gas reserves near its border with Angola. (Bloomberg)




Health Inspector Named



Nikolai Yurgel was named the new head of the country's health inspectorate to replace Ramil Khabriyev, who was dismissed last Monday, RIA-Novosti reported Sunday.

Yurgel previously headed the Moscow city and Moscow region health inspectorate, the agency said. Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov last Monday cited the mismanagement of the drug subsidization program as a motivation for Khabriyev's dismissal. (MT)




EU Protests Wood Duties



HELSINKI -- European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson will try to persuade Russia from raising duties on exports of unprocessed wood, Finnish newspaper Kauppalehti reported Friday without citing anyone.

Mandelson plans to meet with Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref to iron out difficulties in the World Trade Organization negotiations, and wood duties will be on the agenda, the paper said. (Bloomberg)




Supermarket May Sell Stake



Sedmoi Kontinent may sell 25 percent of its shares on the London Stock Exchange next year, Kommersant reported Friday, citing company shareholder Alexander Zanadvorov.

Sedmoi Kontinent investors Zanadvorov and Vladimir Gruzdev, who together own 75 percent of the firm, are considering selling one-third of the holding to the public, the newspaper said. The two owners plan to move the stake to an offshore company to be set up by the end of 2007 for the share sale abroad, Kommersant reported. (Bloomberg)




Stockmann Sales Falter



HELSINKI -- Finnish department store group Stockmann said Friday that its sales in Russia had been hurt by slowing customs operations, which have hampered goods deliveries.

"Sales by the department store division and Seppala [chain] suffered clearly in Russia from the slowing down of operation of the … customs in Moscow in the past few months," the group said. "A new interpretation of regulations regarding certificates needed for imports has hampered the process of delivering the goods to the stores." (Reuters)




Health Checks on Migrants



Health and Social Development Minister Mikhail Zurabov on Friday called for intensified medical check-ups on migrant workers to ensure the country's biological security, Itar-Tass reported.

Zurabov suggested that migrants should undergo medical examinations within 30 days of their arrival and that the results should be submitted to the Federal Migration Service, the agency reported. He cited the tendency for migrants to live in confined communities as a cause for the virulent spread of disease among them, Itar-Tass said. (MT)




For the Record



ANTALYA, Turkey -- Russia's 2007 grain crop is forecast to weigh in at 81.36 million tons, 3.7 percent more than last year, a leading agricultural analyst said Friday. (Reuters)

Mortgage lender Absolut Bank hired Dresdner Kleinwort and UBS to manage a sale of bonds to international investors, a banker involved in the transaction said. (Bloomberg)

TORONTO -- Polyus Gold, Russia's biggest gold producer, may make a bid for Canada's Crystallex International, which is developing a gold mine in Venezuela, the National Post reported Saturday. (Bloomberg)