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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Bashkir Refinery Sale

Gazprom has transferred a 54 percent stake in Salavat, an oil refiner and one of the country's largest petrochemical plants, to banking arm Gazprombank for nominal holding, Salavat said Friday in a regulatory filing.

Analysts said the transfer meant Gazprom had bought control in the firm, which has been under its effective management for several years, from the government of Bashkortostan -- the stake's previous holder.

Gazprom, which is awaiting approval from the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service to buy Salavat, said the transfer did not necessarily mean that it had bought the stake but declined further comment. (Reuters)

Moon or Bust, By 2015

Space company Energia on Saturday reaffirmed its ambitious plan to send a manned mission to the moon by 2015, but said it had not yet received state support for the project, news reports said.

Nikolai Sevastyanov, head of the state-controlled company, said it had conducted preliminary research on the project and found it fully feasible, Itar-Tass and Interfax reported.

"A decision to implement the [project] must be made this year so that we could begin full-scale work and build it by 2013-2015," Sevastyanov said. (AP)

Halliburton Training Center

HOUSTON -- Energy industry service provider Halliburton said Friday that it opened a new training center for employees in Russia as part of a larger strategy to grow its business there and in the surrounding region.

The new center is operated through an agreement with the Tyumen State Oil and Gas University and is already training students from five countries: Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia and Britain.

The company now has 12 training centers worldwide. (AP)

Mediobanca Eyes Russia

MILAN -- Mediobanca's general manager said Friday that the Italian merchant bank was interested in entering the British and Russian markets.

"We are envisioning opportunities to develop a U.K. and Russia presence," general manager Alberto Nagel said.

Mediobanca already operates in France, Germany and Spain. (Reuters)

Norilsk Seeks $4.5Bln Loan

LONDON -- Norilsk Nickel and its arrangers BNP Paribas and Societe Generale are in preliminary talks with a wider group of banks.

The talks are over a $4.5 billion syndicated loan to back its $4.8 billion bid for Canada's LionOre, a banking source said Friday. (Reuters)

Norilsk Investment Plans

Norilsk Nickel plans to increase investments into developing the company in 2007 by 50 percent, up 34 billion rubles ($1.32 billion), the Prime-Tass news agency reported Friday, citing an interview with CEO Denis Morozov.

Morozov said the investment projections did not include expenditure on acquisitions, Prime-Tass reported. (MT)

Ferrous Metal Exports Up

Russia exported 2.2 percent more ferrous metal year on year to countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States in the first quarter of 2007, boosting revenues 37.7 percent, customs data released on Friday showed.

Russia exported 9.76 million tons of ferrous metals worth $4.3 billion to non-CIS countries in January-March 2007 compared with 9.55 million tons worth $3.1 billion one year earlier. (Reuters)

Aluminum Exports Down

Russian aluminum exports outside the Commonwealth of Independent States were 898,700 tons in the first quarter of this year, 23.4 percent down on year-earlier volumes, customs data released Friday showed.

A Federal Customs Service statement gave no explanation for the decline. Last month the data showed a year-on-year aluminum export decline of 17.8 percent. (Reuters)

Japanese Premier to Visit

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering visits to Russia and India in late August for talks to strengthen economic ties, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported Saturday, quoting government sources.

In Russia, Abe will likely seek an agreement on nuclear nonproliferation and try to flesh out plans for private-sector companies to cooperate on nuclear energy, the newspaper said. (Reuters)

RZD Online Tickets

Russian Railways, or RZD, will begin Internet ticket sales for long-distance trips from Monday, the company said in a statement on its web site.

Payment for the tickets can be made with international banking cards, the company said. Tickets will then be available for collection from RZD sales points. Electronic tickets will cost an additional 125 rubles each to process, the statement said. (MT)

Sheremetyevo Rail Halted

Construction work on the railway link between Sheremetyevo Airport and Savyolovsky Station has been suspended by request of the Moscow region's transport prosecutors office, Itar-Tass reported Friday.

Prosecutors say the building firm responsible for the $2 billion project, which began in January, has not secured the full range of permits required, the agency said.

Completion of the link, which had been slated for 2008, has been indefinitely postponed. (MT)