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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Skitovich to Be Polyus CEO

Polyus Gold said Pavel Skitovich would replace CEO Yevgeny Ivanov after Ivanov steps down May 28.

Skitovich, who runs the Polyus' mining department, will take over on May 29, the company said in a statement Monday. The board approved the change Monday.

Polyus is spending more than $150 million on exploration this year as it seeks to have the world's third-largest reserves by 2011, after Canada's Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining of the United States. (Bloomberg)

Slightly More Competitive

Russia climbed to 43rd place this year in a competitiveness ranking of 55 countries compiled by the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development, Vedomosti reported Monday.

Russia climbed from 46th place last year on strong macroeconomic indicators, including increases in the budget surplus and gold and foreign currency reserves, the newspaper said, citing the institute's rating.

Russia's competitiveness is likely to decrease next year, as its economic performance in terms of the budget surplus and other economic indicators worsens, Vedomosti said. (Bloomberg)

Transneft to Raise $388M

Oil pipeline monopoly Transneft has announced a tender to raise at least 10 billion rubles ($388 million) to fund construction of Russia's first pipeline to China, Transneft said Monday.

The company said in a statement that it would borrow the money for at least five years and would also use it to finance other projects approved by the government. The results of the tender are expected on June 13. (Reuters)

VTB Seeks Uranium Venture

State lender VTB Group, which raised $8 billion last week in a share sale, will help fund the country's hunt for new sources of uranium after forming a venture to explore for the radioactive metal in Namibia, the company said Monday in a statement.

VTB signed a venture agreement with export company Tenex to mine and explore for uranium in Namibia, which holds the world's sixth-largest reserves of the metal, the company said. Billionaire Viktor Vekselberg's Renova Group will partner with Tenex in the African project. (Bloomberg)

Norilsk Nickel Port Closure

The north Siberian port of Dudinka, which is Norilsk Nickel's only export conduit, will be closed to shipping from May 15 to June 15 because of annual work to break up the ice on the Yenisei River, the Prime-Tass news agency reported Monday, citing a source in the port administration.

As a result of mild weather, operations to unblock the river are starting 1 1/2 weeks earlier than usual this year, the agency said. The last three ships loaded with metal for export were set to leave from the port Monday evening. (MT)

Turkmen Rail Link Sought

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has suggested creating a railway link from Turkmenistan to Kazakhstan and Russia, the Prime-Tass news agency reported Monday.

The proposed railroad would start from the Caspian port of Turkmenbashi and run through an existing Kazakh station in Yeraliyevo, the agency reported, citing comments by Berdymukhammedov.

Berdymukhammedov also proposed the creation of a Caspian Sea ferry link among Kazakhstan's Aktau, Turkmenbashi and the Russian port of Astrakhan, the agency said. (MT)

Price Growth Seen at 0.6%

Russian consumer prices grew 0.2 percent in the first week of May and are expected to grow 0.5 to 0.6 percent for the whole month, RIA-Novosti said Monday, quoting the Economic Development and Trade Ministry.

Prices grew 0.5 percent in May 2006. The government is targeting 8 percent inflation in 2007. (Reuters)

Avtotor Courts MG Maker

Avtotor, a Russian carmaker, held talks with Nanjing Automobile, owner of the MG brand, to assemble MG cars in the Kaliningrad region, Kommersant reported Monday.

The companies signed a preliminary agreement after a Nanjing delegation led by president Yu Jianwei visited the Avtotor plant two weeks ago, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified person with knowledge of the matter.

The plant may assemble as many as 25,000 MG cars per year, Kommersant said, citing the person. (Bloomberg)

Mazeikiu Below Capacity

VILNIIUS, Lithuania -- Mazeikiu Nafta, a Lithuanian refinery recovering from a fire in October, is operating 34 percent below capacity at 18,000 tons per day, the Baltic News Service reported Monday citing government official.

The refinery is expected soon to increase its production to 20,000 tons per day, the newswire reported, citing Saulius Vorauskas, the Lithuanian government's representative to Mazeikiu. That compares with the refiner's full capacity of 27,400 tons per day. (Bloomberg)

MDM Secures $500M loan

LONDON -- MDM Bank has mandated 8 lenders to arrange a $500 million, dual-tranche loan, which is the borrower's biggest syndicated loan to date, Tengiz Kaladze, the bank's head of international inter-bank funding, said Monday.

The mandated lead arrangers are Alpha Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Commerzbank, Fortis Bank, ICICI Bank, Natixis, RZB and SMBCE.

The deal, which will launch to syndication on Monday or Tuesday, is split between one-year tranche A and a three-year tranche B. The margin on the A loan is 50 basis points over LIBOR and on the B loan is 100 bps. (Reuters)

LUKoil Output Rises

LUKoil said Monday its crude production rose 6.5 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2007 to 2 million barrels per day.

The company, 20 percent owned by U.S. major ConocoPhillips, said in a statement that its total hydrocarbon production rose 7.3 percent year on year in the quarter to 2.24 million of barrels of oil equivalent.

LUKoil said it refined 13.18 million tons of crude in the first quarter of this year, flat from the same period of 2006. (Reuters)

Warm Winter Hits Gazprom

Gazprom's exports outside the former Soviet Union fell in the first quarter of 2007 by 23.5 percent year on year, Industry and Energy Ministry data showed Monday.

Gazprom exported 35.41 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe including the Baltic States from January through March, the ministry said citing its own and customs data.

A Gazprom official said that the fall in the first-quarter exports was due to the much warmer winter than in 2006, when temperatures plunged towards record lows. (Reuters)