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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Currency Reserves Jump

Foreign currency and gold reserves jumped $14.2 billion in the week ended May 11, the biggest seven-day gain since the Central Bank began weekly reporting in June 1998.

The reserves, the world's third-largest, surged to a record $386.3 billion from $372.1 billion the previous week, the bank said in a statement Thursday. (Bloomberg)

Personal Loans Surge

Personal loans in the country surged to more than 2 trillion rubles ($77.5 billion) by April 1, suggesting that average working Russians owe more than twice as much as they earn, Kommersant reported Thursday, citing the Central Bank.

There are 69 million working people in the country, meaning an average employee owes 28,400 rubles, Kommersant said. The average Russian salary was 12,600 rubles in March, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

Urals Energy in the Clear

The state environmental agency has found no signs of an oil slick in the Barents Sea at a site operated by oil firm Urals Energy, Vedomosti reported Thursday.

Vedomosti cited the Nenets region branch of the Federal Service for the Inspection of Natural Resources Use as saying in a statement that it had inspected Urals Energy's oil production facilities on the east coast of the Barents Sea island of Kolguyev and found no signs of pollution in the area. (Reuters)

Tenex to Build Plant

State-owned nuclear fuel trader Tenex will spend about $500 million on building a uranium-ore processing plant in Chita after it won a second mining license in the area, the company said Thursday in a statement.

Tenex doubled the volume of its uranium resources in Chita to almost 10,000 tons after getting a permit for the Gornoye deposit, the trader said. A plant servicing the two deposits will produce 700 tons, of uranium oxide, or yellowcake annually by 2015. (Bloomberg)

Power Forecast Raised

The government increased its forecast for electricity use in the country through 2010 to allow for some reserve capacity, Deputy Industry and Energy Minister Andrei Dementyev told the Cabinet on Thursday, the ministry's web site said.

The country will need at least 42 gigawatts of new power generating capacity before 2010 and another 118 gigawatts by 2020, Dementyev said. (Bloomberg)

Rosneft Bond Backers

The government may have been the owner of the Rosneft shares underlying the $790 million of exchangeable bonds sold by Dresdner Kleinwort on Wednesday, Financial News reported on its web site, citing analysts.

Gazprombank, the banking arm of the state-owned Gazprom, sold the shares in the state oil company, Financial News reported Thursday, citing analysts at Alfa Bank. (Bloomberg)

Transaero to Fly Tu-214s

Transaero will start conducting flights using Russian-made Tu-214 planes Friday, the carrier said in a statement Thursday, Prime-Tass news agency reported.

The plane will be used on the Moscow-Dubai route. This will be the first time the company uses a Russian-made plane, the statement said. The carrier leased its first Tu-214 from the Financial Leasing Company on April 23 and is expecting to receive another 10 planes, the agency reported. (MT)

Belarus Gas Pipeline Deal

Gas monopoly Gazprom and Belarus are expected to seal an agreement Friday on the creation of joint gas transport venture, a source in the Belarussian government told Prime-Tass news agency.

In accordance with a framework protocol signed on Dec. 31, the two sides are expected to establish the venture on the basis of Belarussian gas pipeline firm Beltransgaz. Gazprom will pay $625 million for a 12.5 percent stake in Beltransgaz by Sunday, Prime-Tass reported. (MT)

EBRD Buys Stake in Lenta

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said Thursday that it had bought a minority stake in retailer Lenta for $125 million.

"The transaction is the EBRD's biggest equity investment in Russia outside the financial sector," the bank said in a news release. (Reuters)

Sistema Sells Stake in Paper

Billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov's Sistema sold 39.9 percent of Literaturnaya Gazeta Publishing House, which prints a newspaper by the same name, Kommersant reported.

Sistema sold the stake to the newspaper's editors for $3.2 million, Kommersant said, citing Sistema's full-year financial results, which were released Wednesday. The company retains 45 percent of the publisher through its Sistema Mass Media unit and other companies, Kommersant said. (Bloomberg)

Renault Signs Plant Deal

PARIS -- Renault signed an agreement with Moscow authorities to double capacity at its Avtoframos plant in the city, the carmaker said.

The accord, signed Wednesday, will enable the new plant to assemble 160,000 vehicles per year instead of the 80,000 previously planned, Renault said. Production of a car based on the Logan sedan is set to begin in two years, the automaker said. (Bloomberg)

Citigroup Gets Railcar Stake

Citigroup bought a stake in a Russian lessor of railway cars to profit from surging cargo traffic along the world's longest railroad network, company spokeswoman Natalya Nikolayeva said Thursday.

Citigroup's asset-finance unit bought 10 percent of RRR on May 3, the financial services company's first investment in the country's rail industry, Nikolayeva said. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. (Bloomberg)

Railroad Track Theft

An unemployed St. Petersburg resident has been arrested on suspicion of stealing 80 tons of railroad tracks in the Leningrad region, an Interior Ministry official said Thursday, Interfax reported.

Authorities had earlier been tipped off about the theft of sections of the railroad measuring from 70 to 900 meters between Krasnoflotsk and Shepelevo, the agency reported. Damage to the affected sections is estimated at around 1 million rubles ($39,000). (MT)

Customs Appointment

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov approved Thursday the appointment of Vladimir Malinin as first deputy head of the Federal Customs Service, Interfax reported.

The post has been vacant since April, when then-incumbent Vladimir Shamakhov was named Cabinet deputy chief of staff. Malinin has been deputy head of the Federal Customs Service since May 2006 and previously worked as the chief of the Federal Service for Financial and Budgetary Inspection. (MT)