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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Goldman Writes to Putin

Goldman Sachs Group CEO Lloyd Blankfein wrote to President Vladimir Putin seeking a meeting in Moscow, the Kremlin said Thursday.

Blankfein wants to discuss proposals to expand ties with the Russian state and companies, and talk about the economy, a statement on the Kremlin's web site said Thursday.

Putin "meets regularly with foreign businessmen," Kremlin spokesman Alexander Smirnov said. (Bloomberg)

Russky Standart Profits Rise

Russky Standart, the lender owned by billionaire Rustam Tariko, said profit more than doubled to 14.5 billion rubles ($558 million) last year on higher demand for consumer loans.

Net income surged 147 percent in the period from 5.86 billion rubles one year earlier, the bank said in a statement. Assets climbed to 193 billion rubles from 113 billion rubles and total equity advanced to 25.2 billion rubles from 12.1 billion rubles. (Bloomberg)

Customs Income at $110Bln

Customs revenue rose to a record 2.86 trillion rubles ($110 billion) in 2006, Interfax said Thursday, citing Federal Customs Service chief Andrei Belyaninov.

That equaled about 46 percent of all federal budget receipts, Belyaninov told President Vladimir Putin in a meeting at Putin's residence near Moscow on Thursday, the news service said. Most of the customs revenue, about 2 trillion rubles, came from export taxes, Belyaninov said, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

Gold, Currency Reserves Up

Foreign currency and gold reserves rose for a fifth consecutive week to a record $338.7 billion, the Central Bank said Thursday.

The reserves, the world's third largest, rose by $6.1 billion in the week ended March 30 from $332.6 billion, the bank said in a statement Thursday. Russia recorded its biggest gain in reserves in the week ended March 23 when reserves surged by $10.9 billion. (Bloomberg)

TMK to Hike Pipe Prices

TMK, the world's second-largest producer of steel pipes for the oil and gas industry, will increase prices for all products from this month because of higher raw-material costs.

The price of scrap metal and pipe billet, processed into pipes, rose by 30 percent and 13 percent respectively last year, TMK said Thursday in a statement. The company also increased pipe production 12 percent in the first quarter, compared with one year earlier. TMK shipped 783,000 tons of pipes in January to March. (Bloomberg)

Sberbank Profit Rises 39%

Sberbank increased profit 39 percent last year, CEO Andrei Kazmin told reporters in Moscow on Thursday.

The preliminary full-year net income figure was under international financial reporting standards, Kazmin said. (Bloomberg)

Norilsk Seeks $1.5Bln Loan

Norilsk Nickel is in talks to borrow $1.5 billion, Interfax reported, citing unidentified bankers.

Norilsk would use the loan for current operations, the agency said, without giving further details. (Bloomberg)

Mechel Posts Surge in Coal

Mechel produced almost one-third more thermal coal in the first quarter, expanding output as it buys power generation assets that rely on the fuel.

The company produced 2.32 million tons of thermal coal in the quarter, 30 percent more than one year earlier, Mechel said Thursday in a statement. The steelmaker spent 5 billion rubles ($193 million) improving its Yuzhny Kuzbass mining company last year, and plans to spend that amount again this year, company spokesman Alexei Sotskov said. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom's LNG Plans

SINGAPORE -- Gazprom will deliver liquefied natural gas to North America from the Shtokman field in 2014, LNG Intelligence said Thursday, citing Gazprom's press office.

Natural gas exports to Europe will start in 2013, the report said. The offshore Shtokman gas field is the main source of gas for the Nord Stream pipeline, which when completed will stretch across the floor of the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, the report said. (Bloomberg)

VimpelCom Eyes Dalsvyaz

VimpelCom may buy a unit of Dalsvyaz after the company in the Far East decided to shed its mobile phone businesses valued at about $100 million, Vedomosti reported Thursday.

VimpelCom has sought for many years to establish itself in the Primorye region, where about one-third of the Far East's 6.5 million people live, the newspaper said.

Dalsvyaz plans to focus on broadband Internet and entertainment services, the newspaper said, citing a board decision. (Bloomberg)

Georgia Plans Ad Campaign

Georgia will begin a $7.8 million global advertising campaign to promote the country as an investment destination, the Novosti-Gruzia news agency reported Thursday, citing Georgian Economic Development Minister Giorgy Arveladze.

The campaign, which will feature advertisements on CNN and in The Economist, The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, is aimed at dispelling stereotypes about the country and attracting foreign investment, Arveladze said. (MT)

Aricom Project Valued

LONDON -- Aricom agreed to acquire the rest of the K&S iron-ore project in Russia after it was valued by a mining consultant at about $1.7 billion, more than the company's market value.

The company is issuing 123.8 million new shares to buy the remaining 50 percent stake from Philotus Holdings, worth ?80.8 million ($159.6 million) at Wednesday's price. It is also issuing 65 million shares to Malavasia Enterprises, from which it bought the existing stake, a statement released Thursday said. (Bloomberg)

West Virginia Poultry Ban

Russia, the biggest importer of U.S. poultry, banned imports of meat from West Virginia after the U.S. state reported an outbreak of bird flu, the Agriculture Ministry said.

"The ban came into effect today and will stay in place until we can work out what is going on with bird flu in the United States," Alexei Alexeyenko, a spokesman for the ministry's sanitary watchdog, said Thursday. (Bloomberg)

Chevron's Kazakh Licenses

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Chevron's Kazakh venture, which produces about one-quarter of Kazakhstan's oil, averted a government threat to suspend its license by agreeing to spend $866 million on the environment.

The Kazakh Ecology Ministry approved an ecological plan, which will run through 2009, after talks with TengizChevroil LLP, the government said Thursday in a statement. (Bloomberg)