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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Electricity, Rail Prices Hike

Russia will increase prices for electricity and rail services annually for the next three years, Interfax reported Friday, citing Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref.

Electricity prices for companies will grow between 16 percent and 17 percent in 2008, between 15 percent and 16 percent in 2009 and between 13 percent and 15 percent in 2010, Gref said. (Bloomberg)

Early Inflation Falls

The inflation rate for the first two months of the year fell to 2.5 percent, compared with the same period last year, Interfax reported Friday, citing Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref.

The rate dropped from 4.1 percent in the first two months of 2006, the agency reported. Gref was speaking at a Cabinet meeting, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Seeks Low Interest

Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer, is asking banks to provide $2 billion of loans at the lowest-ever interest rates for the company.

Gazprom will borrow $1 billion for five years at 50 basis points more than the London interbank offered rate, bankers involved in the transaction said.

It will pay 40 basis points above Libor to borrow $1 billion for three years, the bankers said. (Bloomberg)

Rosneft Plans Bonds

State oil company Rosneft is considering selling bonds convertible into the Rosneft shares it plans to buy at Yukos' bankruptcy auction, Vedomosti said Friday, citing unidentified bankers.

Rosneft plans to bid for Yukos' 9.44 percent stake in the company at an auction scheduled for March 27, the newspaper said. The starting price is $7.34 billion. (Bloomberg)

AvtoVAZ Plans Ad Blitz

AvtoVAZ, the producer of Lada cars, plans to increase its advertising budget five times in a bid to clear inventory, Kommersant reported Friday.

The company will spend as much as $35 million on ads this year, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified person familiar with the matter. More than one-quarter of this may be spent by the end of April to promote the new Lada Priora, the person said. (Bloomberg)

Customs Windfall Expected

The Federal Customs Service, which handles all imports and exports from the country, will contribute 3.1 trillion rubles ($120 billion) to the federal budget this year, more than in 2006, Interfax reported Friday, citing the service's chief, Andrei Belyaminov.

Revenue from customs payments totaled 2.9 trillion rubles in 2006, 761.76 billion rubles more than the previous year, Belyaminov said during Friday's Cabinet meeting, the agency reported. (Bloomberg)

Turkish Pipeline Delayed

A final agreement on an oil pipeline bypassing Turkey's clogged Bosporus and Dardanelles straits is being postponed, Interfax reported Friday.

A signing ceremony, set for March 5 or March 6 with representatives from Russia, Greece and Bulgaria, has been canceled, the news agency reported, citing an unidentified person in the

Russian Cabinet. (Bloomberg)

Alfa Bank Seeks $1Bln

Alfa Bank, the country's second-largest privately owned lender, plans to raise more than $1 billion in loans this year, Interfax reported Friday, citing people familiar with the bank's plans.

Alfa Bank will raise a loan for more than $400 million before July, Interfax cited sources as saying. The bank will borrow again in September and December, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)

Retail Growth Pace Rate

Russia's $270 billion retail market will probably keep expanding by as much as 17 percent per year as the economy's continued growth spurs spending, local research company Fashion Consulting Group said.

Retail sales climbed between 15 percent and 17 percent in 2006, Anna Lebsak-Kleimans, president of Fashion Consulting, said Feb. 28 in an interview after a presentation at the Moscow Fashion Expo trade show. (Bloomberg)

Alrosa May Offer Shares

Diamond miner Alrosa may consider a public share offering if sales advance, company president Sergei Vybornov told Interfax on Thursday.

The diamond miner's sales rose 5 percent last year to more than $3 billion. The state-owned company sold $2.9 billion of rough, or uncut, diamonds and the rest in polished gems. (Bloomberg)

Vehicle Venture in Tatarstan

HONG KONG -- Great Wall Motor, China's largest maker of pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, said it agreed to form a carmaking venture with Tatarstan to produce cars in the republic.

The venture, to be based in the city of Elabuga, will make 50,000 vehicles per year as well as car parts and components, Great Wall said in a statement published Friday in the Standard, a Hong Kong newspaper. (Bloomberg)

VTB Group Sells Notes

VTB Group, Russia's second-largest lender, sold 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) of floating-rate notes, Interfax reported, citing unidentified banking sources.

VTB will pay 60 basis points more than the three-month euro interbank offered rate on the two-year notes, Interfax said Friday. Three-month Euribor, an average of rates set daily by banks and used as a borrowing benchmark, is 3.86 percent. (Bloomberg)