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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Pensions Shortfall by 2015?

Russia's aging population may cause a shortfall in the pension system in eight years, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said.

"The biggest danger is coming after 2015," because the number of working people will begin to converge with the number of retirees, Kudrin told students at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow late Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

Currency Reserves Fall

The foreign currency and gold reserves fell for the first week in six after surging to a record last week, boosted by revenue from oil sales.

The reserves, the world's third biggest, fell to $311.1 billion in the week ended Feb. 23, after surging to a record $311.2 billion the previous week, the Central Bank said in a statement Thursday. The reserves rose $1.7 billion the previous week. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Sells Bonds

Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer, sold $1.3 billion of 15-year bonds and 500 million euros ($660 million) of 10-year notes Thursday.

The bonds in dollars will be priced to yield 195 basis points more than the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries, a banker arranging the sale said. The yield on the 10-year bonds in euros will be set at 125 basis points more than the mid-swap rate, a benchmark for borrowing. (Bloomberg)

Gas Sales to Ukraine

Gazprom will hold talks with Ukraine about directly supplying fuel, Interfax reported Thursday, citing deputy CEO Valery Golubev.

Gazprom wants to raise prices for Ukraine by 2011 to the level paid by European customers, Interfax said. Ukraine agreed with Gazprom in January 2006 to buy gas at twice the previous price through RosUkrEnergo, a Swiss-registered venture. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Loses $420M

Gazprom lost 11 billion rubles ($420 million) selling natural gas in Russia, where the government regulates prices, Interfax reported, citing deputy CEO Valery Golubev.

That is less than Gazprom estimated in June last year, when it said the loss would be 30 billion rubles, the news service said. The company said then that losses in 2007 would be 14 billion rubles. (Bloomberg)

Pepsi Bottling Venture

CHICAGO -- PepsiCo and its largest bottler said Thursday that they had formed a joint venture in Russia.

The bottler, Pepsi Bottling Group, will have have a majority interest in the joint venture and maintain management of the day-to-day operations, the companies said.

The venture, PR Beverages, will include PepsiCo's concentrate business and Pepsi Bottling's bottling business in Russia. (Reuters)

State to Unite Shipyards

Russia plans to unite its shipyards into four state-controlled companies as the government seeks to consolidate the nation's shipbuilding industry, Kommersant reported.

Two of the companies will be based in the Far North, one in St. Petersburg and one in Vladivostok, the newspaper said, citing government documents. The yards have $12 billion in orders until 2015, Kommersant said. The state has yet to discuss its plans with owners, the newspaper reported. (Bloomberg)

Blavatnik Buys CTC Stake

Billionaire Leonard Blavatnik's Access Industries Holdings acquired 6.1 percent in CTC Media, which controls Russia's No. 4 television network by market share, to benefit from the country's growing advertising market.

Access Industries bought 9.2 million shares, Nasdaq-listed CTC Media said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission late Wednesday. The shares rose 3.5 percent in New York on Wednesday to $21.10, valuing the company at $3.2 billion. (Bloomberg)

Refiner's Profit Drops

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Lithuania's Mazeikiu Nafta, part of Polish oil group PKN Orlen, posted almost a fivefold drop in net profits for 2006, hit by a fire and a decline in refining margins.

Mazeikiu, sole refiner in the Baltic states, said its unaudited net profit for the whole of 2006 was 192 million litas ($65.9 million), below its revised profit forecast from October of 245 million litas ($88 million). The refiner posted a record 887.8 million litas ($319.5 million) net profit in 2005. (Reuters)

Ukraine Raises Pensions

KIEV -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych agreed to lift spending on wages and pensions in a compromise with demands from the president after industrial output and growth accelerated.

"Tax revenue to the budget has increased as the economy and industrial output have advanced," Yanukovych said Thursday. "It allows us to increase budget spending by [$1.43 billion] and we will spend the money on wages and pensions." (Bloomberg)