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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Oil Companies' Price Cut

Russian oil stocks, including Rosneft and LUKoil, are worth less than before because of high taxes, rising costs and the possibility the companies will struggle to pump oil from newer fields, Citigroup said in a research report released Monday.

"Perversely, we prefer to play the theme of a more bullish oil macro outlook through nonhydrocarbon Russian equity plays," the report said. "We pick gas -- specifically Gazprom -- as the purest play on a higher macro view." (Bloomberg)

Crude Oil Production Rises

Russia pumped 1.9 percent more crude in May than in the same month last year as Exxon's Sakhalin-1 project increased production almost sixfold, according to preliminary data from the Industry and Energy Ministry's dispatch center.

The country produced 9.81 million barrels of oil per day in May, according to the data. Output changed little from April. (Bloomberg)

Fish Prices May Rise

Russian prices for fish will probably rise after the food watchdog added Chile as of July 1 to a list of countries from which imports are banned, Kommersant reported.

The Federal Service for Veterinarian and Vegetation Sanitary Supervision already banned imports of fish and fish products from companies it has not registered in Vietnam, Japan, Uruguay, Argentina, South Korea and China, the newspaper said, citing a copy of an internal letter. The regulator has only registered 15 out of 25 inspected companies in Vietnam, Kommersant reported. (Bloomberg)

Sistema, Karo Join Forces

Sistema Mass-Media, a unit of billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov's Sistema holding, may form a film company with Karo, a Russian movie theater chain and film distributor, Vedomosti reported Monday.

Sistema Mass-Media's Thema Production unit will combine with the film-related assets of Karo under the proposal, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified person familiar with the negotiations between the companies. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Acquires Sea Block

FRANKFURT -- Gazprom said it acquired a stake in Wintershall's 44/24b block in the North Sea.

Gazprom acquired 20 percent of the license block in the British section of the North Sea, the company's German unit said on its web site.

A Wintershall spokesman, Nicholas Neu, said the company had not completed talks concerning the licenses. He said Wintershall was seeking a partner for the block and might announce a result soon. (Bloomberg)

Poland to Get Siberian Coal

WARSAW -- Siberian Coal Energy, the country's biggest coal producer, will open a unit in Poland to boost sales in the country, Polish daily newspaper Puls Biznesu reported Monday without citing anyone.

Russia boosted coal sales to Poland by more than one-third last year to 3.3 million tons, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

Severstal Signs Corus Deal

The mining division of steelmaker Severstal said Monday that it would supply 3 million tons of iron ore pellets to Anglo-Dutch steel producer Corus over three years.

Severstal Resurs said that it had signed a three-year agreement to supply Corus with the pellets, used in steelmaking, from its Karelsky Okatysh mining unit in northwest Russia. (Reuters)

Australian Approval Given

Australian anti-monopoly authorities on Monday approved Norilsk Nickel's bid to buy up Canadian miner LionOre, the Russian company said in a statement.

Norilsk Nickel, which has offered 27.50 Canadian dollars per share in a bid to take over LionOre, edged closer to completing the purchase Friday after rival bidder Xstrata announced it would not place any further bids.

LionOre is a nickel and gold producer with operations in Australia, Botswana and South Africa. (MT)

MTS Exec Survives Crash

Mikhail Shamolin, a vice president of mobile phone operator Mobile TeleSystems, is in a hospital after the helicopter he was traveling in crashed outside Moscow, Kommersant said Monday.

Shamolin suffered an injury to the head, three broken ribs and bruises, the newspaper reported, citing an unidentified doctor. The pilot was killed in the accident and another passenger is also in a hospital, the paper said. (Bloomberg)

OGK-1 Reports 2006 Net

Power generator firm OGK-1 Group reported 2006 net income of 5.79 billion rubles ($224 million), the Tyumen-based company said in a statement Monday.

OGK-1 posted revenue of 30.1 billion rubles, almost all from electricity sales, the company said. OGK-1's earnings were released in accordance with international financial reporting standards. Pretax profit for the period amounted to 8.4 million rubles, said the company. (Bloomberg)

Sugar Tariff Stays the Same

Russia will keep its raw cane sugar import tariff at $140 per ton in July, unchanged for the past 21 months, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry said Monday.

The Russian Sugar Producers' Union industry lobby is trying to persuade the government to introduce a seasonal tariff on imported raws of $250 per ton from January to May next year to protect domestic beet growers and sugar refiners. (Reuters)

Suzuki, Itochu Mull Plant

Japanese carmaker Suzuki Motor and Itochu trading house are expected to sign a memorandum on a joint auto plant in St. Petersburg with the Economic Development and Trade Ministry on Friday, an industry source said Monday.

"They are planning to build a plant together. A deal will be signed during the St. Petersburg Economic Forum," the source said. (Reuters)

Aeroflot to Invest in JAT

Aeroflot will invest as much as $150 million in Serbia's JAT Airways, Kommersant reported Monday, without citing anyone.

Aeroflot will help in the sale of the state-owned Serbian carrier, under an agreement signed June 1 in Sochi, the newspaper said. Earlier Monday, Bulgarian newspaper Pari reported that Aeroflot wants to buy a 75 percent stake in the airline. (Bloomberg)

HSBC to Add Branches

HSBC Holdings plans to add fewer than 10 retail branches in Russia this year, the Financial Times reported Saturday, citing an interview with Jonathan Hartley, chief executive of the lender's unit in the country.

HSBC also plans to offer Internet and telephone banking services in Russia, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)