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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Sakhalin Nature Remedies

The Natural Resources Ministry approved a plan from Royal Dutch Shell and Gazprom to remedy environmental violations at their Sakhalin-2 venture.

"Work to remedy the majority of violations must be undertaken now, since we signed off on this document in a short period of time," Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev said in a statement Monday.

Project operator Sakhalin Energy presented the ministry with a plan on March 20. Trutnev said it was "satisfactory" and in compliance with Russian law. (Bloomberg)

Oil Producers May Get Fines

The Natural Resources Ministry plans to penalize oil companies for failing to meet production targets in an effort to prevent a drop in crude output, Vedomosti reported Monday.

Oil producers may be fined the equivalent of the mineral extraction tax for any oil-production shortfalls as stipulated in license agreements, the newspaper said, citing ministry spokesman Rinat Gizatulin. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil Holdings Boosted

LUKoil CEO Vagit Alekperov and his deputy Leonid Fedun raised their combined stake in the country's largest oil producer to 25 percent.

Alekperov raised his direct and indirect holdings to 17 percent and Fedun raised his to 8.3 percent, LUKoil said in a statement Monday, without elaborating. (Bloomberg)

Fortum's Lenenergo Stake

Finnish utility Fortum's stake in power distribution firm Lenenergo will be cut from 35.45 percent to 23.66 percent after a new share issue, the Russian firm said Monday.

The dilution, which is designed to bring the city of St. Petersburg on board as a major shareholder, will bring Fortum's holding below the 25 percent threshold that is needed to block board decisions. (Reuters)

Gazprom Denies U.K. Plans

LONDON -- Gazprom has no plans to sell the fuel directly to British homes, a spokesman for the trading unit said Monday.

"We have no immediate plans to enter the domestic consumer market," said Philip Dewhurst, a spokesman for Gazprom Marketing and Trading, the company's British-based trading unit. Gazprom is planning to sell energy directly to British households under its own brand name, the Independent on Sunday reported, without saying where it got the information. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil, SLB Loan Deal

LUKoil increased a loan agreement with SLB Invest to $3.5 billion, the company said Monday in a regulatory filing.

LUKoil had raised the amount of the loan, intended for refinancing debt, by 25 percent to $2.5 billion in December. The loan, due Dec. 15, 2010, may be repaid early, LUKoil said. (Bloomberg)

Carousel Sales Quadruple

Superstore chain Carousel said annual revenue more than quadrupled as new outlets helped to draw more customers.

Sales surged to $361 million in 2006, the company said on its web site. The operating margin was 8.25 percent. The size of the average transaction climbed 15 percent to $18.50 excluding value-added tax. (Bloomberg)

Magnit Sales Climb 48%

Supermarket chain Magnit said first quarter revenue rose 48 percent as it opened more stores and gained more customers.

Sales advanced to 23.4 billion rubles ($910 million) in the period ended March 31, the company said Monday. The retailer opened a net 37 stores in the period and increased the number of customers by 28 percent to 177 million. (Bloomberg)

Zirax Profit Surges

LONDON -- Zirax, a British chemical maker, said full-year profit more than tripled on demand for its oil-processing chemicals and ice-removing processes used on Moscow's transport system.

Net income rose to $2.8 million, or $0.02 per share, from $876,000, or $0.009, one year earlier, the company said in a statement Monday. (Bloomberg)

Eurasia's New Platinum Find

Eurasia Mining, a British company that mines in Russia, made a second discovery of platinum ore at a deposit in the northwest of the country less than one month after identifying the first.

Eurasia, in a venture with the world's biggest platinum miner, Anglo Platinum, found the ore at Volchetundra, on the Kola Peninsula, Eurasia said Monday in a statement. (Bloomberg)

Highland May Cede Stake

Highland Gold Mining, the country's fourth-largest gold miner, would consider ceding a majority stake to partner Barrick Gold, the company's managing director Henry Horne said said in an interview with Vedomosti published Monday.

Barrick, the world's biggest gold miner, last year agreed to raise its stake in London-listed Highland to 34 percent from 20 percent in a deal merging the firms' operations in the former Soviet Union. (Reuters)

Sovcomflot Profit Rises 25%

Sovcomflot, a Russian shipper planning an initial public offering, said profit rose 25 percent last year because of greater cargo loads.

Net income advanced to $179.1 million from $143.3 million in 2005, the state-run company said on its web site. Revenue rose 24 percent to $510.7 million, in results calculated to international standards.

Sovcomflot said it carried 4.4 million tons of deadweight last year, 12 percent more than one year earlier. The average age of its fleet of tankers declined to 4.9 years from 5.1 years in the period. (Bloomberg)

Rostelekom Trims Dividend

The board of Russia's long-distance telephone operator Rostelekom has recommended cutting full-year ordinary dividends by 5 percent after a 20 percent fall in profit, the firm said Monday.

Rostelekom said in a regulatory filing that it planned to pay out 1.48 rubles (six cents) on ordinary shares, down from 1.56 rubles last year. Preferred dividends will fall to 2.96 rubles from 3.71 rubles, in line with the slump in profit, which was calculated to Russian accounting standards. (Reuters)

Barge Traffic Faces Problems

Russian river barge navigation will have difficulties with shallow waters because of the warm winter and lack of snow, Argus Media reported Monday, without citing anyone.

Oil exporters will not ship products in barges from refineries based in Bashkortostan because of shallow waters in the Belaya River this year, the agency said. Barge transportation may also decline because of proposed import duties this year on barges, which are used to accumulate oil product cargoes from smaller river tankers for loading into larger vessels for export to Europe, the news service said. (Bloomberg)