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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

KamAZ Share Float in 2008

The government will float shares in truck maker KamAZ next year, but has omitted flagship airline Aeroflot and telecoms firm Svyazinvest from its 2008 privatization list, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Thursday.

"We've discussed the privatization program, and Svyazinvest and Aeroflot are not on the list for 2008," Gref told reporters after a government meeting.

He said the government was considering options for the privatization of KamAZ. "A share placement is planned for the third quarter of 2008," he said. (Reuters)

Gazprom Dividend Increase

Gazprom may increase its dividend payments by 70 percent for 2006 to 2.54 rubles (10 cents) per share, its highest ever, Interfax reported Thursday, citing unidentified sources.

Gazprom's revenues and profits have been steadily rising in the past years on the back of strong gas prices and bigger sales. It reported a 69 percent jump in net profits in 2006 to Russian accounting standards to 343.68 billion rubles ($13.34 billion). (Reuters)

Deripaska Denies Report

Oleg Deripaska, the billionaire who controls United Company RusAl, the world's biggest aluminum maker, denied a report in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that his U.S. visa was revoked last year.

The businessman lost permission to enter the United States in 2006, when the accuracy of statements he made to the FBI was questioned, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified U.S. officials.

Deripaska has a valid multiple-entry U.S. visa and he plans to attend a Rand Business Leaders Forum in the United States in May, his office said Thursday in a statement. (Bloomberg)

Volvo to Invest in Russia

STOCKHOLM -- World No. 2 truck maker Volvo said Thursday that it would build a truck plant in Russia to meet increasing demand.

The firm said in a statement that the investment would amount to 935 million Swedish crowns ($137.8 million). The new assembly plant will have a capacity of 10,000 Volvo trucks and 5,000 Renault trucks per year. It said the facility would be located in Kaluga, 200 kilometers from Moscow. (Reuters)

Belarus' Oil Import Plans

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Belarus is planning to import crude oil via Lithuania's terminals, starting from 2008, the Belarussian ambassador to the Baltic state said Thursday.

"We are discussing the possibility of importing crude from Venezuela and Iran, therefore we are looking at the option to use Butinge and Klaipedos Nafta oil terminals," Vladimir Drazhin told a group of Lithuanian lawmakers. (Reuters)

Baltika Expands Plant

Baltika Breweries doubled the planned capacity of a new Siberian plant as beer consumption increases outside the country's biggest cities, the company said Thursday in a statement.

The brewery in Novosibirsk will be able to make 450 million liters of beer per year and is scheduled to begin production in 2008, Baltika said. The plant, the company's 11th, will be equipped to produce licensed and premium brews, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Federal Grid Bond Sale

The Federal Grid Company, a unit of Unified Energy Systems that holds Russia's transmission assets, plans to sell as much as 8 billion rubles ($310 million) of bonds this year, CEO Andrei Rappaport said.

The sale comes as the government intends to raise its stake in the holding to 20 percent from 12 percent before the breakup of national power utility UES next year, Rappaport said in Moscow on Thursday. He said the holding also expects 90 billion rubles from the government over three years to raise the government's stake in the company and finance investment. (Bloomberg)

Merrill Enters MICEX

Merrill Lynch has become a member of the MICEX stock exchange, according to statements Thursday from the U.S.-based company and MICEX.

Merrill Lynch's Russian unit, Merrill Lynch Securities, is the 600th organization accredited to trade on the MICEX, according to the statements. (Bloomberg)

Aviva Boosts Russia Hires

LONDON -- Aviva, Britain's biggest insurer, will hire as many as 5,000 salespeople in Russia as part of its strategy to win 10 percent of the country's insurance market, The Times of London said Thursday, citing executive director Philip Scott.

The company also plans to offer pension programs for private firms and will introduce unit-linked investments in Russia. Aviva, which has 180 Russian employees, would fund the expansion strategy, Scott said. (Bloomberg)

PPF Not Looking at Insurer

PRAGUE -- PPF Group, the biggest privately owned Czech financial group, denied a report Thursday that it was interested in buying a 40 percent stake in insurer Ingosstrakh from financier Alexander Mamut.

Neither PPF nor any of its units, including the largest Czech insurer, Ceska Pojistovna, is involved in such talks, said Dita Fuchsova, PPF's spokeswoman in Prague. Vedomosti said Wednesday that Mamut plans to sell his stake to PPF rather than to Oleg Deripaska. (Bloomberg)

Illegal Industrial Imports

Eighty percent of light industrial machinery brought into Russia is imported illegally, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Thursday.

The figure rises to 100 percent for certain electronic appliances, he said. Gref said importers were using a number of semi-legal strategies to reduce the import duty on goods from 44 percent to 10 percent. (MT)

Directors Try to Avoid Taxes

A third of company directors in Russia will do anything it takes to minimize their tax burden, according to a study by Accounts, Taxes, Law magazine, Interfax reported Thursday.

More that 60 percent of the 2,500 company directors polled said they tried to stay out of all matters relating to taxes and 65 percent said they had never read the Tax Code, said Alexsei Starikov, editor of the magazine.

"We are going to pass on our findings to the State Duma, Federal Tax Service and Finance Ministry," Starikov said. (MT)

For the Record

Producer prices rose an annual 3.1 percent in the month, compared with 5.6 percent in February, the State Statistics Service said in a statement Thursday. (Bloomberg)

Foreign currency and gold reserves surged $10.3 billion last week to a record because of higher prices for oil and natural gas, the Central Bank said Thursday. (Bloomberg)