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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Putin Signs 3-Year Budget

President Vladimir Putin signed on Thursday the 2008-2010 budget, in which the hefty surpluses of recent years will be slashed.

The country is moving to a three-year budget cycle from next year to ensure a smooth transition after State Duma elections in December and the election of a successor to Putin in March. (Reuters)

Gas Prices Investigated

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service launched a probe on Thursday into the retail gasoline market, demanding that oil companies justify the pump prices they charge or face fines.

"We want to bring the situation under control in time and prevent it from becoming more entrenched," said the deputy head of the service, Anatoly Golomolzin. (Reuters)

Reserves Rise to Record

Foreign currency and gold reserves rose to a record $413.1 billion in the week ended July 20, the Central Bank said Thursday.

Russia increased its reserves by $1.9 billion from $411.2 billion the previous week, the Central Bank said in a statement. The reserves, the world's third biggest, gained $2.4 billion the previous week, the bank said. (Bloomberg)

Oil Fund Earns $3.34Bln

Russia earned 85.3 billion rubles ($3.34 billion), or an annual return of 9.5 percent in dollar terms, from investing its oil fund, Vedomosti reported Thursday.

The Finance Ministry and the Central Bank began investing the stabilization fund, which totaled 3.14 trillion rubles by the start of July, on July 24 of last year, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

Oil Firms to Be Inspected

Units of several foreign oil companies will undergo spot-checks for license compliance, Interfax reported Thursday.

The inspections are part of a wide-ranging probe into oil production license compliance by the Natural Resources Ministry announced this week, the news agency said.

The companies undergoing checks include Urals Energy, Timan Oil & Gas, and JKX Oil & Gas, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)

Brackenbury to Head Ford

Ford appointed Nigel Brackenbury, currently Mazda's general manager for global marketing, to head its Russian division, the company said Thursday in a statement.

Brackenbury will take over from current Ford Russia head Henrik Nenzen on Sept. 1, the company said. Sergei Bogdanov, vice president of Ford in Russia, will become the managing director of Ford Truck Russia as of August 14, the statement said. (Bloomberg)

Chevron to Hold Field Talks

Chevron said in a statement Thursday that it would begin talks on developing the offshore Kyapaz-Serdar oil and gas field next week.

"Chevron confirms that the company is poised to start negotiations with Turkmenistan next week over the development of the disputed Kyapaz-Serdar oil and gas field," the company said. (Bloomberg)

Mechel Looks to Cut Losses

Mechel started operating hydraulic excavators at its Southern Kuzbass unit to cut operational losses by as much as 4 percent and boost output, the company said Thursday.

Mechel spent $7 million on the machines, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Norilsk Eyes Mining Rights

Norilsk Nickel may boost its nickel reserves by 22 percent should the company win exploration and mining rights for a Siberian field, Kommersant –reported Thursday.

Norilsk is interested in buying rights for the Irkutsk region's Iisko-Tagulskaya field, with a potential 7.5 million tons of nickel, 3 million tons of copper and 900 tons of platinum group metals, said Nikolai Suslov, deputy head of Irkutsk's natural resources agency, Kommersant reported. (Bloomberg)

Komi Coal Output Up 5%

LONDON -- The republic of Komi produced 7.08 million tons of coal in the first half, 5 percent more than a year earlier, Interfax reported Thursday, citing a source at the republic's Industry and Energy Ministry.

The republic of Komi is in the northwest of Russia. (Bloomberg)

Sukhoi Log Sale Planned

Russia may auction the rights to develop Sukhoi Log gold field in the next few months, Interfax reported Thursday.

An assessment of the deposit in the Irkutsk region will be completed in October, and Russia may proceed with an auction or a tender to develop Sukhoi Log in late 2007 or early 2008, the agency said, citing the deputy head of Irkutsk's natural resources agency. (Bloomberg)

MDM Plans $1Bln Issue

MDM Bank mandated UBS to organize an issue of Euro Commercial Paper worth $1 billion, the bank's managing director, Timur Kibatullin, said Thursday.

"The program's limit is $1 billion, I think we will register it within one or two weeks," Kibatullin said. (Reuters)

X5 Signs $1Bln Loan

LONDON -- X5 Retail Group said Thursday that it had signed a $1 billion, one-year syndicated loan via initial mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

X5 said that proceeds would be used to refinance debt, including an $800 million syndicated loan that it took out last year to finance creation of the firm. (Reuters)

Kazakhs Buy Russian Bank

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan's largest bank, Kazkommertsbank, said Thursday that it had bought a controlling stake in Moskommertsbank.

It said in a statement that it had acquired 52.1 percent of the Russian bank and that it had also raised its interest in Kazakh pension fund Ular Umit to 49.35 percent from 41.18 percent. (Reuters)

Turbine Maker Offers Shares

Turbine maker Power Machines has priced a secondary public offering of shares at 4.69 rubles (18.4 cents) per share, a shareholder said Thursday.

"Based on that figure, we plan to raise $275 million," said Sergei Batekhin, deputy head of Interros. (Reuters)

GV Gold Sees No IPO

Miner GV Gold, which has twice postponed an initial public offering this year, will now not be listing in 2007, and will not try again for an IPO before fall 2008, a shareholder in the firm said Thursday.

"We definitely won't appear on the stock market this year. It will be next year, after we've significantly increased our capitalization," said Natalya Opaleva, deputy chairman of Lanta-Bank and a shareholder in GV Gold. (Reuters)