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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Belgian Gas Storage Plans

Belgium plans a 2012 start for a gas storage facility in collaboration with Gazprom, Interfax quoted an official of the Belgian gas pipeline operator Fluxys as saying Tuesday.

Pascal De Buck, Fluxys deputy commercial director, said the storage that Fluxys is planning to build together with Gazprom was expected to have a capacity of 300 million cubic meters of gas. (Reuters)

Bigger OGK-5 Sale?

Unified Energy Systems may offer a controlling 50 percent stake in its OGK-5 unit as a single lot, as it prepares to spin off the generator.

"Maybe we will organize an auction for 50 percent, it is a good idea," CFO Sergei Dubinin said Tuesday.

The proposed sale, which would be for twice as much as the utility had originally planned to auction by May, will be discussed by the company's management and board, he said. (Bloomberg)

VTB Net Reaches $1.1Bln

VTB Group, Russia's second-largest lender, said profit last year more than doubled to $1.1 billion under international standards, Interfax said Tuesday.

The bank, which is planning an IPO of its stock this year, had net income of $511 million last year, the service reported from Singapore, citing Yulia Chupina, a senior vice president and board member. (Bloomberg)

UralSib Buys Up Kopeika

UralSib Financial gained complete ownership of discount supermarket chain Trading House Kopeika by buying the half of the company that it did not already own, Vedomosti reported.

UralSib bought a 50 percent stake in Kopeika from three former executives, the newspaper said, citing Alexander Samonov, who sold his 30 percent holding along with partners. Samonov declined to give details of the transaction to Vedomosti. (Bloomberg)

Russia GM, Ford Sales

NEW YORK -- General Motors and Ford Motor, the two biggest U.S. automakers, expect sales in Russia to lead growth in Eastern Europe.

"Eastern Europe is driving quite a bit of what growth is available in the European marketplace," said Jonathan Browning, GM's European sales and marketing chief. GM and Ford are counting on stronger European sales to boost profits. Both companies are cutting jobs and shutting plants in North America, where sales have fallen. (Bloomberg)

TNK-BP Output in 2006

TNK-BP said Tuesday that it replaced 129 percent of production with new reserves in 2006, ending the year with 7.81 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The reserves replacement figure, audited by DeGolyer & MacNaughton and based on U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission methodology, was adjusted to reflect TNK-BP's sale of its Udmurtneft subsidiary during 2006. (Reuters)

Check Starts on Gazprom

The Federal Service for Ecological, Technological and Atomic Inspection has begun a comprehensive inspection of the operations of gas monopoly Gazprom, it said in a statement Tuesday.

The service listed a number of things it would assess at Gazprom, including the reliability and safety of equipment, quality and timeliness of maintenance, emergency procedures and employees' qualifications. (Reuters)

Gallaher Sale Approved

MADRID -- Japan Tobacco, the world's third-largest traded cigarette maker, won Russian anti-monopoly approval for its $14 billion takeover of Gallaher Group.

South Africa's competition regulator also has approved the transaction, Tokyo-based Japan Tobacco said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

Barroso Dismisses Attack

BRUSSELS -- The European Commission is not surprised that Gazprom does not like current proposals to break up major energy companies in Europe, the EU executive body's chief said Tuesday.

"The fact that a monopolist company doesn't like our proposal is quite understandable," Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said. "We don't like monopolies." (Reuters)

Inflation in February

Consumer price inflation slowed less than expected in February to 1.1 percent month on month from 1.7 percent in January, official data showed Tuesday.

The State Statistics Service data bring price growth in the first two months of the year to 2.8 percent after 4.1 percent in the same period of 2006 and reduce the likelihood of further appreciation of the ruble, a weapon that the Central Bank uses to rein in prices. (Reuters)

Singapore, Russia Trade Rise

SINGAPORE -- Trade between Singapore and Russia rose 43 percent last year, Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang said.

Bilateral trade expanded to 1.89 billion Singapore dollars ($1.24 billion) at the end of last year from 1.32 billion Singapore dollars in 2005, he said in Singapore. Russia is now Singapore's 33rd-largest trading partner, up five places. (Bloomberg)

Meredith Magazine Launch

WASHINGTON -- Meredith Corp., publisher of Ladies Home Journal and other magazines, signed licensing arrangements with two publishers to introduce titles in Russia.

St. Petersburg-based Sobaka Publishing will start a monthly Russian-language version of More magazine later this year, the company said in a statement Monday. (Bloomberg)

Mongolia Mining Tax

Mongolia's government will propose changes to a recently enacted excess-profit tax to win back confidence from Centerra Gold and other miners considering investment there.

The government wants to reverse a decline in mining investment attributable to the tax and other laws passed in May 2006, Luvsanvandan Bold, chairman of the Mineral Resources and Petroleum Authority of Mongolia, said Monday. (Bloomberg)

Inchcape Profit Grows

LONDON -- British car retailer Inchcape posted a 12 percent rise in annual profit, helped by the fast-growing emerging markets of Russia and China, and said it remained confident for 2007.

Inchcape said Tuesday that it had seen solid performances from both its distribution and retail units and that a wide geographic spread had offset a weaker performance in the rest of Asia. (Reuters)

Sibirtelecom Chief Replaced

Fixed-line telephone monopoly Svyazinvest will replace Anatoly Nikulin as head of Sibirtelecom, one of its seven regional subsidiaries.

Nikulin's contract with the Novosibirsk-based company expired Monday and the Svyazinvest board did not extend it, the company said in a statement Tuesday. (Bloomberg)