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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

ENI Wants Yukos Asset

LONDON -- The CEO of Italian oil major ENI, Paolo Scaroni, said Tuesday that he hoped Gazprom would not exercise its option to buy ENI's stake in Gazprom Neft.

In April, Eni bought 20 percent of Gazprom Neft at an auction of Yukos assets. Gazprom has an option to buy back the stake from the Italian firm any time over the next 18 months. (Reuters)

Oil Tax May Be Hiked

The government may raise its tax on oil exports to encourage companies to refine more of the fuel at home, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said Tuesday, Interfax reported.

The tax is revised every two months based on the average international price for Urals. (Bloomberg)

UES Generator Stakes Sales

Unified Energy Systems plans to sell stakes in two generators by the end of July, Yury Udaltsov, who heads the UES department in charge of plans to reorganize the company, said Tuesday.

The company will sell 64 percent of OGK-4 and 57 percent of TGK-1, Udaltsov said. (Bloomberg)

Alitalia Allows New Bidder

ROME -- Italy allowed U.S. private equity firm MatlinPatterson to re-enter the bidding for national airline Alitalia on Tuesday, boosting a tender process that has been rattled by concern that Aeroflot might pull out.

The Italian treasury said the MatlinPatterson could present a binding offer alongside the other bidders -- smaller Italian carrier Air One and Aeroflot. (Reuters)

Gas Trading Slumps

Trading on the country's new gas bourse has slumped because of a mild winter, Gazprom said Tuesday, although it is also bypassing the trading exchange by making more direct sales.

Gazprom's trading arm Mezhregiongas set up the exchange last year to give gas producers, who normally have to sell through Gazprom's network at state-capped prices, an alternative outlet. (Reuters)

News Outdoor Stake for Sale

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. plans to sell part of its stake in News Outdoor Russia, the country's largest provider of outdoor advertising space, Kommersant said Tuesday, citing News Outdoor chief Maxim Tkachyov.

News Corp. is looking for a "strategic investor," Kommersant cited Tkachyov as saying, without providing more details of the planned sale. (Bloomberg)

MMK's Q1 Net Profit Up

Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works said Tuesday its first-quarter net profit rose 41.1 percent on one year earlier to $350 million.

The company, also known as MMK, said in a statement its gross revenue rose 51.7 percent in the quarter to $1.845 billion, calculated to U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. (Reuters)

Polymetal Profit Triple

Metals mining firm Polymetal said Tuesday its profit more than tripled last year.

Net income rose to $59.2 million under U.S. accounting standards, Polymetal CEO Valery Nesis said Tuesday. Net income for 2005 reached $17 million, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Russia, S. Korea Agree Link

SEOUL, South Korea -- Russian Railways and its counterpart in South Korea agreed to link rails between the two countries, Korea Railroad said Tuesday in a statement.

Russian Railways president Vladimir Yakunin and Korea Railroad president Lee Chul signed an agreement to form a logistics venture that will connect railroads from South Korea's Busan port to Russia's Khasan via North Korea's Rajin port, Korea Railroad said. (Bloomberg)

Sistema Sees $25Bln Value

Sistema, billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov's holding company, aims to more than double its market value by the end of next year, CEO Alexander Goncharuk said Tuesday.

The company wants to reach a market value of $25 billion, Goncharuk said. Sistema's market value based on the shares traded in Russia is $11.6 billion. (Bloomberg)

RusAl, Areva Venture

United Company RusAl, the world's largest aluminum producer, and Areva, the biggest maker of nuclear plants, agreed to form a joint venture to modernize aluminum smelters, RusAl said Tuesday in a statement.

The venture will produce and deliver $500 million of smelter equipment to the Sayanogorsk and Bratsk smelters, RusAl said. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Buys Portenergo

Sibur, Gazprom's petrochemical arm, bought a company that's building a liquefied petroleum gas export terminal outside St. Petersburg, it said in a statement Tuesday.

Sibur acquired 100 percent of Portenergo from Kompaniya Ust-Luga, the Gazprom unit said. The company did not disclose how much it paid. (Bloomberg)

Polymetal Stakes Bought

Polymetal, a metals miner controlled by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, said Tuesday that four members of its board of directors bought 1.2 percent of the company in a stock-option program.

Chairman Alexander Mosionzhik bought 2 million shares, or 0.6 percent of the company, the based company said in a statement. Nikolai Belykh and Andrei Rodionov bought 700,000 shares, or 0.2 percent, each, and Pavel Gratchev bought 500,000 shares, or 0.2 percent. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

Russia may raise its import duty on the raw sweetener to $250 per metric ton from January, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

Veropharm, the drug-making unit of pharmacy chain 36.6, said Tuesday profit rose 15 percent last year as rising incomes increased demand for pharmaceuticals. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom is interested in buying fertilizer maker Tolyatti Azot, Kirill Seleznyov, head of Gazprom's marketing department, said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

LONDON -- Gold-mining firm Celtic Resources Holdings posted a profit last year compared with a loss in 2005 after gaining $35.4 million from the sale of a stake in a mine in Russia. (Bloomberg)

The Development Bank's credit portfolio could grow to between 1 trillion rubles ($50 billion) and 1.5 trillion rubles up from the current 250 billion rubles by 2010, the lender's chairman Vladimir Dimitriyev said Tuesday, Interfax reported. (MT)

The consolidated revenue of pipe maker TMK stood $1 billion in the first quarter, the firm's CEO Konstantin Semerikov said Tuesday, Prime-Tass news agency reported. (MT)