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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

RusAl Output Drops

United Company RusAl, the world's largest aluminum producer, said Tuesday that output of bauxite ore fell 8.6 percent in the first quarter amid political unrest in Guinea.

Production of the ore refined into alumina, which is used to smelt aluminum metal, declined to 4.13 million tons from 4.52 million tons a year earlier, UC RusAl said Tuesday in a statement. (Bloomberg)

Comstar Reports Q4 Loss

Fixed-line operator Comstar reported Tuesday a fourth-quarter loss of $63.1 million after taking charges linked to an executive bonus scheme and an acquisition.

The results marked continuing earnings volatility at Comstar since it raised nearly $1 billion in an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange over a year ago, as the company restructured its operations and brought in new management. (Reuters)

Metalloinvest Output Up

Metalloinvest, the steel and mining firm owned by billionaire Alisher Usmanov, produced 6 percent more steel in the first quarter of 2007 than in the same period a year ago, the company said Tuesday.

Crude steel output at the company's two mills, Urals Steel and Oskol Electrometallurgical, was a combined 1.58 million tons in the first quarter, Metalloinvest said in a statement. Output of rolled products also rose 6 percent in the same period, compared to 1.23 million tons a year earlier. (Reuters)

Novatek Dividend

Gas producer Novatek plans to pay dividends 11 rubles ($0.43) per global depositary receipt in dividends for 2006, not including interim payments, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Shareholders will vote on the payout May 24, the company said. The record date to participate in the annual meeting is the close of business on April 5. (Bloomberg)

Aeroflot Numbers Up

Aeroflot carried 23 percent more passengers in March as the country's growing economy allowed more people to travel.

Aeroflot flew 604,500 passengers last month, the airline said in a statement Tuesday.

The number of travelers increased 14.6 percent from a year earlier to international destinations and surged 45.8 percent on domestic routes, the airline said, without specifying figures. (Bloomberg)

Allianz Eyes Russian Insurer

FRANKFURT -- Allianz will probably buy Progress-Garant, Vedomosti reported Tuesday, citing an unidentified person familiar with the talks.

Progress-Garant, created in the 1990s by Yukos to insure its units and employees, became independent through a management buyout in 2005, the newspaper said.

The company, which would strengthen Allianz's position in health and property insurance, may be worth about $100 million, Vedomosti said, citing the insurer's former managing director, Marat Ainetdinov. (Bloomberg)

Gazprombank Securities

Gazprombank said it had more than 4.17 trillion rubles ($161.6 billion) of securities at its deposit center at the end of the first quarter.

The figure includes stocks, bonds and other securities held by individuals and companies at Gazprombank's depository center, the bank said in a statement Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

Polief to Invest $840M

Polief, the country's only polyester manufacturer, signed an agreement Tuesday with the Bashkortostan regional government that calls for investments of $840 million.

Polief, controlled by Gazprom and LUKoil, agreed to work out an investment program with regional authorities, the companies said in joint statement.

Ufa-based Polief plans annual production of as much as 600,000 tons of terephthalic acid, used in making polyester, and 400,000 tons of polyethylene terephthalate, also known as PET. (Bloomberg)

Chicken Kingdom Buyout

Cherkizovo Group, one of Russia's biggest meat producers, signed a preliminary agreement to buy poultry producer Chicken Kingdom, Cherkizovo said Tuesday.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding on the sale of the poultry brand, which is based in the central regions of Lipetsk and Bryansk, Cherkizovo said.

"This acquisition is a major step forward for Cherkizovo as we continue to benefit from the ongoing consolidation within the Russian poultry producing market," Cherkizovo CEO Sergei Mikhailov said in the statement. (Bloomberg)

Kazakhs Predict More Gas

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan plans to increase natural gas exports 64.6 percent by 2015 as it taps new fields.

The Energy Ministry forecasts exports of 24.8 billion cubic meters of the fuel by 2015, Energy Minister Baktykozha Izmukhambetov said, according to a report on the government's web site Tuesday.

Kazakhstan, which has 1.7 percent of world's gas reserves, exported 15.063 billion cubic meters of gas in 2006, according to the country's statistics agency. (Bloomberg)

No Mazeikiu Dividends

VILNUIS, Lithuania -- Mazeikiu Nafta, the only oil refinery in the Baltic states, said it would not pay a dividend for 2006 after net income dropped 78 percent.

Profit declined to 197.1 million litai ($77.25 million) last year compared with 887.8 million litai in 2005, the company said in a statement Tuesday. Profit fell after an October fire slashed production and crude supplies by pipeline from Russia were halted, the company said in the statement. (Bloomberg)

Sakhalin Energy Oil Offer

SINGAPORE -- Sakhalin Energy Investment offered to sell 730,000 barrels of Vityaz crude oil for July loading, said traders who received offer documents.

Potential buyers must submit bids by Wednesday and they must be valid until Thursday.

Prices of Vityaz crude are based on the price of Oman crude oil. Shipments sold under six-month contracts are priced off Oman and Abu Dhabi's Murban crude oil. (Bloomberg)

Iceland's First Oil Refinery

OSLO -- Investors from Russia, the United States and Iceland are looking into building Iceland's first oil refinery in West Fjords in northwest Iceland.

"If the feasibility studies are favorable, it could be up and running within 4 1/2 to five years," Hilmar Foss, one of the owners of Reykjavik-based Iceland HighTech Industries, which is planning the project, said by telephone on Tuesday. (Bloomberg)