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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Gazprom's Caspian Option

STOCKHOLM -- Gazprom and Swedish oil and gas exploration company Lundin Petroleum said Monday that they had signed a deal giving Gazprom an option to buy a controlling stake in the Lagansky block in the Caspian Sea.

Gazprom will have the option to buy 50 percent plus one share in the Lagansky Block exploration license. (Reuters)

Deripaska Mulls Sochi Link

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska's Basic Element may build a light metro link to Sochi airport from the city because Russian Railways' plan to do so is expensive and will take too long, Kommersant reported Monday.

Basic Element, owner of the Sochi airport, is reviewing options for a Sochi airport connection with the city, the newspaper reported, citing an unidentified Basic Element spokesperson.

Each kilometer of light metro will cost $15 million to $20 million, at least three to four times more than a regular railway, Kommersant reported, citing Alexei Bezborodov, director of the Infranews agency. (Bloomberg)

Gref Proposes New Deputy

Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref has nominated Anna Popova, head of the ministry's corporate governance department, to replace Andrei Sharonov as his deputy, a ministry source said Monday.

"It is already effectively official that Gref has nominated her, but it is not yet clear whether it will go through," the source said on condition of anonymity.

Sharonov, a pro-market liberal, quit after 10 years in the ministry to move into the private sector. Nominations for position of deputy minister rank require the approval of Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov. (Reuters)

Malev Gets Losses Deadline

BUDAPEST -- Boris Abramovich, the investor who owns Malev, gave CEO Lloyd Paxton one year to halt the airline's losses, Napi Gazdasag reported Monday, citing Abramovich.

Malev is in critical shape and the new CEO must not make mistakes, Abramovich told journalists at a press conference Friday. (Bloomberg)

Imperial Denies Accusations

Imperial Energy, a London-based oil company with operations in Siberia, said Monday that its reserve data were "correct" and it had not received any notice stating otherwise from Russian officials.

Officials studying Imperial's oil reserves found "discrepancies" in the company's reserves statements, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Ministry said Friday. (Bloomberg)

Aluminum Output Up 4%

Russia produced 1.92 million tons of primary aluminum in the first half of 2007, up 4 percent from the same period last year, Prime-Tass news agency said Monday, citing Moscow-based consultancy Alyuminy.

Russia's output of alumina, an intermediate product for aluminum smelting, rose 1.8 percent to 1.65 million tons in the first six months of 2007. (Reuters)

RusAl Opens Siberian Plant

United Company RusAl opened a production facility in Siberia to supply a separate bauxite and alumina complex under construction, the company said Monday in a statement.

RusAl's Industrial Park Siberia in the town of Ukhta will supply about 51,000 tons per year of metal structures valued at more than $100 million for the plant in the Komi republic, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Hambro Hopeful on Target

LONDON -- Peter Hambro Mining, which mines for gold in the Far East, said Monday that it expected its 2007 gold production to reach its target of 283,000 ounces.

The country's third-largest gold miner said in April that it expected 2007 total attributable production to increase by 8.4 percent to around 283,000 ounces, while warning that rising cost pressures might increase operating expenses. (Reuters)

Turkey Seeks Field Deal

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey is seeking new energy cooperation deals with Russia and wants Moscow to give Ankara free use of a natural gas field, a senior Turkish energy ministry official said Monday.

The official said giving Turkey use of a Russian gas field would be in line with cooperation deals that Moscow has with other countries. (Reuters)

VTB-24 Securities Delay

VTB-24, the retail banking arm of the country's second-largest bank, VTB, has delayed a $500 million issue of residential mortgage-backed securities until 2008, a senior bank official said Monday.

"We are abandoning the securitization deal in 2007. It is economically sound for us to put it off until 2008, tentatively to the second quarter," VTB-24 board member Anatoly Pechatnikov told reporters. (Reuters)

Brewer Pollutes River

Ochakovo, the country's last independent brewer, is responsible for polluting two tributaries of the Moscow River, the Natural Resources Ministry's environmental watchdog said Monday.

The Moscow brewer's filtering system is in "unsatisfactory condition" and the concentration of harmful substances in the effluent is "practically unchanged" when it leaves the plant, the inspectorate said. (Bloomberg)

Petkim Sale Defended

ISTANBUL -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended the sale of state chemicals maker Petkim Petrokimya Holding to a Kazakh company, Turkish newspaper Milliyet said Monday.

Erdogan said in a television interview that the price that TransCentralAsia Petrochemical Holding agreed to pay for Petkim was well above the company's market value and rejected criticism that the buyers did not provide enough information about their company's activities, Milliyet said. (Bloomberg)

Eurasian to Boost Output

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Aluminum of Kazakhstan, a unit of Eurasian Natural Resources, plans to invest as much as $266 million to boost alumina output by 20 percent, Eurasian said in a statement late Friday.

The company plans to increase alumina production to 1.8 million tons by the end of 2010 from the current 1.5 million tons, Eurasian said. Aluminum of Kazakhstan will upgrade facilities, buy new equipment and explore new alumina fields, Eurasian said. (Bloomberg)

Kazakhtelekom Mobile Sale

Kazakhtelekom, Kazakhstan's national phone monopoly, may sell its stake in a local mobile-phone company to finance expansion, Askar Dostiyarov, a Kazakhtelekom board member, said in an interview Friday.

Kazakhtelekom may sell its 49 percent stake in GSM Kazakhstan and is looking for an international investment bank, or a group of banks, to advise on the deal, Dostiyarov said. (Bloomberg)