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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Alfa Near Half VimpelCom

Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Group has raised its stake in VimpelCom to between 44 percent and 50 percent as part of its fight with Telenor for control of Russia's No. 2 mobile-phone company.

An Alfa unit paid $47.4 million for 473,290 American depositary receipts, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing dated June 25.

Alfa bought additional shares to increase "influence over the corporate actions to be taken by VimpelCom," the filing showed. The ownership of more than 44 percent will give Moscow-based Alfa the right to nominate four of its own directors. (Bloomberg)

Usmanov Into Aussie Gold

Billionaire Alisher Usmanov has bought a 12.3 percent stake in Australian gold producer Medusa Mining in an effort to diversify his investments from steel and iron ore to other metals.

Usmanov's Gallagher Holdings paid 20.1 million Australian dollars ($17 million) for a stake in Medusa, which is exploring for gold and copper in the Philippines, Medusa said Wednesday in a statement. Gallagher, an investment vehicle, bought 17.5 million shares and has an option to buy another 7 million by Feb. 1. (Bloomberg)

United Aircraft-Airbus Talks

State-owned Unified Aircraft Corporation on Wednesday said it is in talks with European Aeronautic, Defence & Space on a new single-aisle airliner to succeed the Airbus SAS A320 and Boeing's competing 737.

"We have consultations with EADS" on the proposed model, United Aircraft CEO Alexei Fyodorov told reporters Wednesday. United Aircraft, which makes components for the 107- to 185-seat A320 model series, and EADS' Airbus unit have agreed to create a joint venture to convert passenger versions of the planes into freighters. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil Exploration Plans

LUKoil will spend 16 billion rubles ($620 million) on exploration this year, RIA-Novosti reported Wednesday, citing the company's deputy director for geology Alexander Semyanov. LUKoil will increase its reserves by 140 million tons of oil equivalent (1 billion barrels) this year through exploration alone, RIA-Novosti said, citing Semyanov. (Bloomberg)

India Sales Boost MiG

Fighter-jet maker MiG will boost sales 74 percent this year on exports to India and Algeria, the state-owned company's first deputy CEO Sergei Tsivilyov said Wednesday. Revenue will increase to $800 million from $460 million one year earlier, Tsivilyov said.

"We begin the delivery of the MiG-29 naval jets to India this year and will deliver jets to Algeria," he said, declining to specify the number of planes being sold. (Bloomberg)

More Gas for South Stream

ISTANBUL -- Gazprom's South Stream may eventually take gas from Central Asia, competing with the rival Nabucco pipeline to ship fuel to Europe, an Eni executive said Wednesday.

The pipeline will initially take gas from fields in Siberia and may later carry Kazakh and Turkmen gas, Leonardo Maugeri said. The project may cost as much as 10 billion euros ($13.4 billion), he said. (Bloomberg)

X5 Borrows $1Bln

X5 Retail Group, the country's largest supermarket chain, borrowed $1 billion from banks led by Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to refinance existing debt with cheaper funding.

The money will be used mostly to replace an $800 million loan taken out last year to pay for the merger of its two main chains, the Moscow-based company said Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

MGTS Shares Put at $44

Moscow City Telephone, or MGTS, has been priced at $44 per share, Interfax reported today, citing an unidentified person familiar with the evaluation.

The evaluation, carried out for the Federal Property Management Agency, makes the 28 percent stake owned by Svyazinvest worth $983.5 million, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)

Tengiz $600M Dividend

Chevron, KazMunaiGaz and their partners in Kazakhstan's TengizChevroil venture will share a $600 million dividend for the second quarter of 2007, Interfax reported Wednesday, citing the Kazakh state oil company.

KazMunaiGaz will receive $120 million, Interfax said yesterday. TengizChevroil paid $400 million in dividends for the first quarter, Interfax reported on April 13. (Bloomberg)

Sovcomflot World's No. 5?

The merger of Sovcomflot and Novoship will be completed by year's end and will create the world's 5th-largest shipper worth $5 billion, Sovcomflot general director Sergei Frank told reporters Wednesday.

"We plan to complete the unification this year," said Frank, a former transportation minister. (Bloomberg)