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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Auditor Clears Kharyaga

Total has rectified a number of violations at its Kharyaga project, Interfax reported Thursday, citing the country's chief auditor.

"Many deficiencies that we pointed out have been corrected," Sergei Stepashin, head of the Audit Chamber, told reporters Thursday, the agency reported. The Audit Chamber in January faulted the French company for a number of environmental violations at Kharyaga, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)

Baltika License in Britain

LONDON -- Britain's biggest brewer, Scottish & Newcastle, on Thursday signed a licensing agreement with Baltika Breweries to produce Russia's top beer Baltika under license in Britain until 2021.

Baltika is controlled by Baltic Beverages Holding, which itself is a 50-50 joint venture between Scottish & Newcastle and Danish brewer Carlsberg. The Baltika No. 3 brand, which will be produced under license in Britain from later this year, has been repackaged for the British market into 330-ml bottles, in addition to existing 500-ml bottles, S&N said in a statement. (Reuters)

Petrol Pays Debt to LUKoil

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Petrol Holding, the majority owner of Petrol AD, Bulgaria's biggest fuel retailer, repaid a debt to LUKoil Bulgaria after a Bulgarian court froze trading of its shares.

LUKoil Bulgaria, a unit of LUKoil, said April 2 that it sought the trading freeze because Petrol Holding owed it 1,125,000 levs ($772,700). If Petrol Holding had not paid the debt, LUKoil Bulgaria would have gained the right to sell the shares. (Bloomberg)

KamAZ in Pakistan

Truck maker KamAZ is creating a new joint venture in Pakistan to sell and service trucks, a KamAZ official said Thursday, Interfax reported.

KamAZ plans to invest from $1.5 million to $3 million within one year into the new venture, said Interfax, without giving more details. KamAZ already makes trucks in Pakistan and plans to increase the proportion of locally produced trucks in Pakistan to 40 percent from the current 15 percent, Interfax quoted Yevgeny Pronin, a senior KamAZ official, as saying. (MT)

AvtoVAZ Approves Model

AvtoVAZ has approved the design of a new budget model by Canadian auto component manufacturer Magna, Vedomosti reported Thursday.

The car's base price should be between $10,000 and $12,000, an AvtoVAZ official said, the newspaper reported. AvtoVAZ may also have to drop the plan to build a new plant and manufacture the new, Magna-designed car at its plant in Tolyatti, the newspaper said, citing an unnamed source. (MT)

TNK-BP to Process Gas

TNK-BP will spend $500 million by 2012 on processing associated gas, the company's director of associated gas processing projects, Mikhail Gordin, said Thursday, the Prime-Tass news agency reported.

The company plans to build a $68 million associated gas recycling plant in the Novosibirsk region, TNK-BP official Oleg Rumyantsev said. The plant, construction on which starts later this year and will be completed in late 2008, will process gas for electric power production, Rumyantsev said. (MT)

Altimo Plans Acquisitions

Altimo, billionaire Mikhail Fridman's telecommunications company, plans to buy a telephone company in Vietnam or Indonesia to expand into growing markets, the company's chief financial officer Teijo Pankko said Thursday.

Altimo will make "at least one major acquisition in Asia" in the next six to 18 months, Pankko said.

"We believe the initial investment will be billions of dollars," Pankko said, without naming any potential targets. (Bloomberg)

Strike at Heineken Plant

Workers at Heineken's St. Petersburg plant are planning a rulebook slowdown on Friday, Interfax reported.

"A rulebook slowdown will begin at 8 a.m. and will continue indefinitely," said Valery Sokolov, leader of the plant's union, Interfax reported.

Workers at the plant are demanding a 30 percent raise, a year-end bonus, extra pay for hazardous conditions and other concessions. The workers' union has not notified the management of the planned action, Interfax said. (MT)

Cable to Help Digital

Cable television companies are seeking to take part in the government program to introduce digital television to the country, vice president of the Cable TV Association Sergei Dmitriyev said, Kommersant reported Thursday.

"The government cannot go through with the project without cable operators," Dmitriyev said. "Cable networks are already switching to digital TV, and maybe all the government has to do is just stand by."

Under IT and Communications Ministry plans, 90 percent of the country will be provided with digital television services by 2015 in a project estimated to cost around 160 billion rubles ($6.2 billion). (MT)

NLMK Increases Output

Novolipetsk Steel, or NLMK, a Russian steelmaker owned by billionaire Vladimir Lisin, made 7.9 percent more cold-rolled steel in the first quarter after completing maintenance.

The company produced 455,000 tons of cold-rolled steel, NLMK said Thursday in a statement. Hot-rolled steel output fell 7.7 percent to 414,000 tons and crude-steel advanced 2.2 percent to 2.34 million tons. (Bloomberg)

Raspadskaya Output Rises

Raspadskaya, Russia's second-largest miner of coal used in steelmaking, posted a 30 percent gain in first-quarter output.

The company produced 3.27 million tons of coking coal, from 2.52 million tons one year earlier, Raspadskaya said Thursday. Sales of unprocessed coal rose 28 percent, while sales of washed coal advanced 33 percent. (Bloomberg)

Russia Bans Thai Rice

Russia will ban rice imports from Thailand from May 1 after finding a shipment infected with an unidentified dangerous pest, the Agriculture Ministry's animal and plant health watchdog said Thursday.

A 1,200-ton shipment of rice from Bangkok containing "dead dangerous pests" had been seized in the port of Novorossiisk, the watchdog said in a statement.

Thailand is one of the main suppliers of rice to Russia, along with China, Vietnam and India. (Reuters)

For the Record

HELSINKI -- New stores in Russia and major sales campaigns boosted January-March sales of Finnish retailers Kesko and Stockmann, the firms said Thursday. (Reuters)

TMK, the world's second-largest producer of pipes for the oil and gas industry, said Thursday that its shares were listed on the MICEX exchange, in addition to listings in London and Moscow's RTS exchange. (Bloomberg)