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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

$1.5Bln Loan to Belarus

NEW YORK -- The government has preliminarily agreed to lend $1.5 billion to Belarus to help the country finance higher costs of Russian gas imports, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Friday, Ekho Moskvy radio reported on its web site.

Kudrin said the government has yet to approve the loan, which would result in changes to the federal budget, the report said. (Bloomberg)

Absolut Buy Approved

BRUSSELS -- Belgian banking and insurance group KBC said Friday it had received regulatory approval from the Central Bank to acquire Absolut Bank.

KBC said it had already received approval from the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service and now held 95 percent of Absolut. The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, holds the remaining 5 percent. (Reuters)

Vimetco Raises $94M

LONDON -- Vimetco, an aluminum producer controlled by Russian businessman Vitaly Machitsky, raised about $94 million from a sale of global depositary receipts in London, the company said Friday in a statement.

The company sold the receipts at $9 apiece, implying a market capitalization of about $2 billion, Vimetco said. The company said "conditional" trading of the receipts started Friday in London. (Bloomberg)

Scania in Truck Talks

STOCKHOLM -- Scania plans to build an assembly plant in Russia as it seeks to tap rising demand fueled by a surging economy and higher oil output from the country, the truckmaker said in a statement late Thursday.

Scania, based in Soedertaelje in Sweden, will build a facility that will initially assemble 10,000 vehicles annually, it said. Discussions with Russian authorities on the plant's location are under way, Scania said. (Bloomberg)

Medvedev on British Ties

The diplomatic dispute between Russia and Britain in which both sides have expelled envoys should not damage trade and investment flows, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Friday.

"This should not affect economic relations," Medvedev told a news conference. "We need to respect each other," Medvedev said, referring to the need for Britain and Russia to observe each other's constitutions. "For too long we were working on this potential, it would be a shame" to sacrifice it, he said, referring to the burgeoning economic ties between the countries. (Bloomberg)

Magna Backs Investment

TORONTO -- Auto parts maker Magna International said Wednesday its board had agreed to a $1.54 billion investment from a firm controlled by Oleg Deripaska, and it expected shareholders to vote on the plan on Aug. 28.

A Magna statement said the investment by Russian Machines, a wholly owned subsidiary of Deripaska's Basic Element, would help Magna establish itself the growing domestic market.

"In targeting the Russian market, Magna believes that the best way to minimize risk and maximize return is by working together with an established industrial partner," it said. (Reuters)

Gazprom Bond Put Off

Gazprom postponed Friday the expected sale of its 30-year benchmark dollar eurobond after putting off the deal a day before, a market source said Friday.

"It is not going to price today, it's postponed to Monday," a market source said, without giving details.

Gazprom postponed the eurobond sale Thursday after scrapping its plans on Wednesday to issue 10-year paper as part of the same deal, due to volatile market conditions. (Bloomberg)

Imax Screens in Siberia

Imax, the operator of movie theaters with giant screens, will install one of them in Siberia, after signing an agreement with Art Science Cinema Distribution, the company said Friday.

Art Science Cinema's multiplex in Novosibirsk will include an Imax movie screen when it opens in late 2008, Imax said. Russia already has three Imax theaters, the Ontario-based Imax said in a statement. (Bloomberg)

Economy Seen Up 7.1%

The country's economy may expand 7.1 percent this year, beating government forecasts, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Friday, Interfax reported.

The government's official forecast was for a 6.7 percent rate this year. The economy expanded 7.9 percent in the first quarter, according to the State Statistics Service. (Bloomberg)

Bank St. Petersburg Issue

Bank St. Petersburg, one of the country's top 30 banks, said Friday it plans to issue 50.8 million shares in a rights issue equivalent to 16.8 percent of its enlarged capital.

A statement issued by the bank said the capital increase had won board approval, but did not specify the amount of money the offering hoped to raise. (Reuters)

MTS $1.2Bln Bond Sale

Mobile phone company Mobile TeleSystems is planning to sell 30 billion rubles ($1.18 billion) in bonds to refinance debt that's currently in foreign currencies, Vedomosti reported Friday, citing a letter between the company and one of its banks.

The bonds will be sold in several parts with varying maturities, the newspaper said, citing MTS CFO Vsevolod Rozanov. (Bloomberg)