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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

VSMPO-Avisma Eyes India

VSMPO-Avisma, the world's biggest titanium producer, plans to set up two joint ventures in India to make titanium and titanium sponge, company chairman Sergei Chemezov said Thursday.

State-run VSMPO will probably build plants in the states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, said Chemezov, who also heads state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, Interfax reported.

Chemezov also said VSMPO plans an initial public offering at the end of 2008 or in 2009. (Bloomberg)

Electricity Venture Planned

Carmaker AvtoVAZ, titanium maker VSMPO-Avisma and gas producer Itera plan to form a venture to produce electricity, Sergei Chemezov, head of Rosoboronexport, parent of two of the companies, said Thursday.

Both AvtoVAZ and VSMPO have power-generation assets that should be combined into a new holding, Chemezov said, adding that he hoped new generation capacity would also be built. Rosoboronexport controls both AvtoVAZ and VSMPO. (Bloomberg)

VTB Renames Promstroi

VTB, Russia's second-largest bank, changed the name of Promstroibank to Bank VTB North-West as it seeks to establish a single brand on the financial market, VTB said Thursday in an announcement carried by Kommersant.

VTB bought 75 percent of St. Petersburg-based Promstroibank in 2005 and received shareholder approval for the name change this March, VTB said. (Bloomberg)

Russneft Shares Frozen

Tax authorities won a court ruling to freeze shares in Russneft belonging to the oil company's founder, Mikhail Gutseriev, Kommersant reported Thursday, citing the Moscow Arbitration Court.

The tax service wants to seize slightly more than 50 percent of Russneft, after accusing shareholders of selling the stock at less than market value to avoid paying taxes, Kommersant said, citing a person familiar with the case. (Bloomberg)

40% of Wages Not Declared

Up to 40 percent of Russians are paid their wages off the books, State Tax Service chief Mikhail Mokretsov said Thursday.

Mokretsov said so-called "shadow wages" remain a widespread problem for businesses and regulators, Prime-Tass reported. Mokretsov warned of the ill effects on tax collection and pension funds. (MT)

Rating Held Back by Politics

BUDAPEST -- Russia's Baa2 credit rating is constrained by its heavy dependency on energy and risks associated with the 2008 presidential elections, credit rating agency Moody's said Thursday.

"The main reason … we see so far is an increasing dependency on energy exports … and political uncertainty on the 2008 election," Moody's analyst Alexander Kockerbeck said at a conference in Budapest. (Reuters)

Uzbeks to Get Nuclear Fuel

Russia plans to provide Uzbekistan with nuclear fuel this year for a research reactor, the state-run nuclear fuel producer said Thursday.

"The program is designed to reduce the potential threat of proliferation of highly enriched uranium," Tvel said in a statement.

Twenty-one low-grade nuclear rods will be sent to Tashkent, Uzbekistan's capital, as part of the Russian-U.S. reduced enrichment for research and test reactors program, Tvel said. Tvel's Novosibirsk Chemicals Plant will produce the fuel. (Bloomberg)

U.S., Georgia Trade Deal

WASHINGTON -- Georgia and the United States agreed Wednesday to establish a forum aimed at boosting trade and investment.

The deal sets up a council for the two countries to discuss ways to make it easier to do business. Deputy U.S. Trade Representative John Voroneau and Georgian Economic Development Minister Giorgi Arveladze signed the agreement at a ceremony in Washington. (AP)

Petronas in Venture Talks

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Petronas, Malaysia's state oil company, is in talks for a joint venture with Rosneft and Gazprom on a large oil and gas project, the New Straits Times reported Thursday, citing Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Discussions are at an early stage, he said at a news conference in Russia. (Bloomberg)

Corus Mulls Steel Plant

Corus Group, the British unit of India's Tata Steel, may build a steel-rolling plant in the Leningrad region to supply car-components makers, Andrew Morris, a director of British manufacturer Stadco, said Thursday.

Stadco is building a 100 million-euro ($134 million) auto-parts plant in the region, near a Ford factory, Interfax reported Thursday. (Bloomberg)

Sinopec Renews Urals Deal

BEIJING -- China's Sinopec Corp has renewed a one-year deal with European trader J+S to lift about 130,000 barrels per day of Urals crude from June, the same volume as the previous yearly contract, a trading source said Thursday.

Sinopec will also get about 30,000 bpd of North Sea crude from the trader, a similar arrangement with the previous annual pact, the source said, without giving details of the crude grades.

Russia supplies 10 percent of China's total crude imports. (Reuters)

Mitsubishi Wins Plant Deal

TOKYO -- Mitsubishi, Japan's largest trading company, and two partners won a 10 billion yen ($81 million) order from Uraltrubprom to supply equipment for a steel pipe plant, Mitsubishi said Thursday.

The plant will begin operating from April 2009, Mitsubishi said in a statement. Mitsubishi-Hitachi Metals Machinery and Nakata were also awarded the order. (Bloomberg)

Center Telecom Posts Profit

Center Telecom, a unit of fixed-line telephone company Svyazinvest, returned to profit last year after reporting a loss the previous year, the company said Thursday in a statement.

Net income was 1.8 billion rubles ($70.7 million), compared with a loss of 1.4 billion rubles one year earlier, the company said. Sales increased 2.8 percent to 29.5 billion rubles, under international accounting rules. (Bloomberg)

KazMunaiGaz Profit Falls

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- KazMunaiGas Exploration Production, a unit of Kazakhstan's national oil and gas company, said Thursday that profit fell 3.8 percent in the first quarter after it won a reversal of an environmental fine assessed in the same period last year.

Net income from continuing operations slid to 23.8 billion tenge ($112 million), or 322.19 tenge per share, from 24.8 billion tenge one year earlier, the company said in a statement. Revenue declined 2.3 percent to 98.2 billion tenge. (Bloomberg)