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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Novatek to Up Gas Output

Natural gas producer Novatek plans to double fuel extraction and invest about $5.5 billion in projects through 2015.

The company plans to pump 65 billion cubic meters of gas in 2015, up from the 30 billion expected this year, Novatek said in slides prepared for an investor presentation, which were posted Monday on its web site.

Novatek plans to "migrate sales away from wholesalers" and "target the growing power-generating sector," the company said. It plans "active participation in gas exchange." (Bloomberg)

AvtoVAZ Stake Sale

State holding Rosoboronexport may sell 25 percent or more in carmaker AvtoVAZ to a strategic investor, but would still keep control in it, Russian news agencies reported Monday.

"We will be ready to sell a stake bigger than the blocking one to a strategic buyer," the agencies quoted Rosoboronexport CEO Sergei Chemezov as saying.

A stake of 25 percent, or a "blocking stake," allows the holder to block significant decisions at the firm's board level. (Reuters)

Capital Inflow Revised

The Central Bank has raised its forecast for the 2007 net private capital inflows to $35 billion from $30 billion, Alexei Ulyukayev, first deputy bank chairman, said Monday.

"The capital flows not so much into the oil and gas sectors, but into utilities, banking and telecoms," Ulyukayev said.

Net private capital inflow in the first quarter of 2007 stood at $13 billion, compared with an inflow of $14.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006. (Reuters)

Abramovich Cement Stake

Roman Abramovich bought 45 percent of Russian cement producer Eurocement in March from the Russia Partners fund, Kommersant said Monday, citing people familiar with the deal.

Eurocement has 13 plants in Russia, two in Ukraine, and one in Uzbekistan, the newspaper said. The company produced 27 million tons of cement last year, including 22.5 million tons in Russia, 41 percent of the country's total, Kommersant said. (Bloomberg)

E.On, Gazprom Swap

BUDAPEST -- E.On, Germany's largest utility, said an exchange of Hungarian assets for a stake in a natural gas field belonging to Gazprom might be completed "in a few months," Hungarian newspaper Nepszabadsag reported Monday, citing an E.On executive.

Gazprom's talks to buy a controlling stake in Shell's Sakhalin-2 project have held up the transactions, Klaus Hammer, the chairman of E.On's Hungarian gas-storage unit, told the newspaper. E.On will keep management rights in both Hungarian companies, he added. (Bloomberg)

Troika Will Reconsider Sale

LONDON -- Troika Dialog, which last year rejected takeover approaches by European and U.S. lenders, will consider a sale again in 2010, chairman Ruben Vardanian said.

Troika Dialog wants to allow its investment banking business to expand independently for now, Vardanian said in an interview on the sidelines of the Russian Economic Forum in London on Monday. (Bloomberg)

Polymetal Output Declines

Polymetal, a miner owned by Suleiman Kerimov, said silver and gold production declined in the first quarter.

Silver output declined 17 percent to 3.55 million ounces from 4.26 million ounces in the same period last year, the company said in a statement Monday. Gold output slid 4.7 percent to 55,600 ounces. (Bloomberg)

Hambro Net Doubles

LONDON -- Peter Hambro Mining, Russia's second-biggest gold miner, said profit in 2006 had more than doubled because of increased production.

Net income climbed to $30.6 million, or 38 cents per share, from $13.3 million, or 17 cents per share, in 2005, Peter Hambro said Monday in a statement. Production, which rose 5 percent to about 261,800 ounces last year, will increase to 283,000 ounces this year, the statement said. (Bloomberg)

Highland Gold Loss Widens

LONDON -- Highland Gold Mining, a British company that produces gold in Russia, said its annual loss had widened after an accident at the Darasun mine increased costs.

The loss widened to $96.5 million last year, from $11.8 million in 2005, the St. Helier, Jersey-based company said Monday in a statement. Twenty-five people died in an accident at the Darasun mine. (Bloomberg)

MMK Profit Rises 56%

YEKATERINBURG -- Steel major Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works posted on Monday a 56 percent increase in first-quarter net profit to Russian accounting standards as sales rose 28 percent.

The company reported net profit of 10.31 billion rubles ($400.9 million), up from 6.6 billion rubles in the first quarter of 2006. Sales rose to 43.13 billion rubles from 33.61 billion. (Reuters)

Bank Sets Offering Range

Vozrozhdeniye bank has set a price range for its secondary public offering at $57 to $63 per share, a banking source said on Monday.

"The placement is going very well and will be completed soon," the source said. Vozrozhdeniye earlier said it planned to place 3 million shares among investors at market prices. (Reuters)

Frequency Conversion

The Federal Communications Agency unveiled plans Monday to convert radio frequencies from military to civilian use.

The agency said it would invite tenders this month for the conversion, which is expected to cost about 1.13 billion rubles ($44 million).

Currently, most of the country's radio frequencies are still controlled by the military, although many of them of not still in use. (MT)

MTS Penalized Over Tariff

In a landmark ruling, two courts in Yekaterinburg found Mobile TeleSystems guilty of illegally raising subscriber fees that it had advertised as unlimited.

Anatoly Bezrukov, a subscriber to MTS's unlimited tariff plan, sued the company, which in October 2006 raised monthly fees to 1,300 rubles ($50) from 998 rubles and limited local calls to 2,000 minutes per month. The court ordered MTS to refund Bezrukov with the sum of 1,000 rubles as well as reinstituting the unlimited tariff. (MT)

Nokian Posts Strong Profits

HELSINKI -- Finnish tiremaker Nokian Renkaat said Monday that its January-March sales and operating profits were higher than expected, boosted by strong demand in Russia, sending its shares sharply higher.

The company said its first-quarter operating profit roughly tripled year on year to 39 million euros ($53.1 million), while sales rose 34 percent to 200 million euros. (Reuters)