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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

TNK-BP Buys Severnoye

TNK-BP bought 66 percent of a Siberian oil and gas producer, the company said Friday.

TNK-BP Holding acquired the shares Thursday, gaining 88 percent of the voting rights at Severnoye, the company said, without disclosing the price.

Severnoye previously belonged to Russneft, the country's eighth-largest oil producer, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

Putin Signs Budget Law

President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed a legal amendment to switch to a three-year budget, the Kremlin said on its web site.

The changes, which include measures to split the stabilization fund into a reserve fund and a fund for future generations, were approved by the Cabinet on Thursday. The government will submit its first three-year draft budget to the State Duma on April 30. (MT)

Duma Approves Beer Tax

State Duma Deputies passed a bill to raise the beer tax by half over the next three years as President Vladimir Putin seeks to curb alcohol abuse.

The Duma approved the bill in a third and final reading Friday, a statement on its web site said. The tax will rise in increments to 3.09 rubles (12 cents) per liter in 2010 from 2.07 rubles now, the Russian Brewers Union said. (Bloomberg)

Drug Law Passes Hurdle

The State Duma has approved in a first reading a bill to toughen penalties for importing, producing and distributing counterfeit medicines, Interfax reported Friday.

The bill would see a new statute introduced into the Criminal Code with punishments ranging from a minimum fine of 500,000 rubles ($20,000) to a 15-year jail sentence.

In a further move to cut down on counterfeit products, Duma Deputy Speaker Vladimir Katrenko announced the establishment of a working group to study the introduction of labeling systems for certain goods. (MT)

PwC's Appeals Decision

PricewaterhouseCoopers' Russian unit appealed a Moscow court decision that it incorrectly audited Yukos.

PwC filed an appeal Thursday and is waiting for a hearing date to be set, a spokeswoman said by telephone in Moscow on Friday. She declined to be quoted by name. (Bloomberg)

Severstal Owner Sells Unit

The owner of steel major Severstal, Alexei Mordashov, will sell his 50 percent stake in rail and shipping firm Severstaltrans to the firm's management, the shipping company said Friday.

The stake will be bought by Konstantin Nikolayev, Nikita Mishin and Andrei Filatov, who already control 50 percent in Severstaltrans. (Reuters)

Hermitage Starts New Fund

LONDON -- Hermitage Capital Management founder Bill Browder has raised $625 million for a new investment fund for South America, the Middle East and Asia, the Financial Times said Friday, citing an interview.

The new fund, Hermitage Global, will run alongside Hermitage's existing Russian fund and use the same activist investor methods, the paper said. (Bloomberg)