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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

China Oil Link

Construction on a pipeline linking China to Siberian oil fields will begin next year, Interfax reported Monday, citing Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko.

Work on a spur to the Chinese border from Russia's new trans-Siberian pipeline will start within 208 days after China transfers its first payment, the news agency cited Khristenko as saying in Beijing on Monday. China, which is financing construction of the spur, paid its first installment in June, Khristenko told Interfax. (Bloomberg)

Mitvol in Highland Dispute

Environmental regulator Oleg Mitvol urged the government to reject attempts by Highland Mining Gold to delay the start of production at a deposit in the Far East, three days after opening an investigation at the field.

The Federal Subsoil Resource Use Agency should not allow the British-listed company to push back the start date at the Mayskoye mine in the Chukotka region, Mitvol said in an e-mailed statement Monday. (Bloomberg)

Magnitogorsk Projects

Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works, Russia's second biggest steelmaker, is considering overseas projects, Vedomosti reported Monday.

Magnitogorsk opened talks on a joint venture with Maghreb Steel in Morocco, and is considering options in the Middle East, United States and Canada, the newspaper said, citing chairman Viktor Rashnikov. (Bloomberg)

Aluminum Exports Increase

Russian aluminum exports outside the CIS totaled 1.8 million tons in the first five months of this year, up 1.1 percent on year-earlier volumes, customs data showed.

The data, released Monday, showed higher prices meant the value of exported metal rose 27 percent to $3.4 billion. (Reuters)

Russky Standart Probe

Russky Standart bank faces a federal investigation into its loan practices, Kommersant reported Monday.

Prosecutors filed a suit in Volgograd City Court against the bank's local unit, alleging that it charges commissions when clients open accounts and does not sign loan agreements, the newspaper said, citing local prosecutor Alexander Rasstrygin.

The bank does sign agreements and does not charge commissions to open accounts, spokesman Artyom Lebedev told Kommersant. He could not immediately be reached for comment. (Bloomberg)

Tatneft in Tire Talks

Continental and Tatneft are considering a joint venture to make steel-belted truck tires in Russia, Interfax reported Monday, citing Tatneft deputy CEO Zagit Sharafeyev.

Continental may take a controlling stake in a plant it is building for Tatneft after the start of production, which is scheduled for late 2008 or early 2009, Interfax said, citing Sharafeyev, who also heads Tatneft's petrochemicals management company, Tatneft-Neftekhim. (Bloomberg)

VTB on EADS Stake

VTB Group is looking for a buyer for its 5 percent stake in European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., Vedomosti reported Monday, citing analysts who had met with the bank's management.

VTB's stake in EADS, Europe's largest aerospace company, is worth 2 percent to 3 percent less than its purchase price, and VTB is waiting for EADS shares to appreciate before selling them, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

Turkmen Gas to Iran

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan -- Turkmenistan doubled natural gas exports to Iran to 4.1 billion cubic meters in the first six months of 2007, Turkmen state media reported Monday.

State news agency Turkmenhabarlary said the country planned to export 8 bcm to Iran this year, up from 5.7 bcm last year. It gave no exact figures for how much gas was exported to Iran in the first half of 2006. (Reuters)

TMK Pipe Shipments Up

Steel pipe maker TMK shipped 1.58 million tons of steel pipes in the first half of 2007, 8 percent more than in the same period a year ago, the company said Monday.

TMK said in a statement that steel production rose 3.2 percent in the first half of 2007 to 1.14 million tons. (Reuters)

Nonferrous Exports Down

Russia exported 6.5 percent less ferrous metal year on year to countries outside the CIS in January through May, but higher prices boosted revenues 25.7 percent, customs data showed Monday.

The country exported 16.78 million tons of ferrous metals worth $7.61 billion to non-CIS countries in January-May compared with 17.94 million tons worth $6.05 billion a year earlier. (Reuters)

Nomos $150M Loan

Nomos Bank, a lender controlled by the industrial holding company ICT Group, is borrowing $150 million to refinance existing debt.

Citigroup, Raiffeisen Zentralbank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, are arranging the loan, Nomos Bank said in an e-mailed statement Monday. The debt is in two parts due in one and two years, both of which can be extended. (Bloomberg)

KazakhGold on Aurum

KazakhGold Group denied on Monday that it was building a stake in Aurum Mining prior to making a takeover offer.

"The rumors have no foundation whatsoever," Kanat Assaubayev, chairman of St. Helier, Jersey-based KazakhGold, said in a statement distributed by the Regulatory News Service. (Bloomberg)

Bulgarian LUKoil Dispute

Workers at LUKoil Neftochim Bourgas, Bulgaria's main crude oil refinery, blocked a motorway for half an hour demanding shorter working hours and more vacation time, the Sofia News Agency reported Monday.

About 1,500 workers blocked the highway linking Bulgaria's capital Sofia to the Black Sea port of Burgas, the news agency reported July 7, without citing anybody. The workers' demands include a 35-hour working week and the resignation of Labor Minister Emilia Maslarova, the report said. (Bloomberg)

More MICEX Investors

The number of retail investors registered to trade on the MICEX stock exchange rose 84 percent to 425,000 in the first six months of the year.

Trading volume doubled to 12.58 trillion rubles ($490 billion) in the first half of 2007, compared with the same period a year earlier, the exchange said in a statement Monday. Shares of Unified Energy System, the state-owned electricity provider, generated more than a quarter of activity. (Bloomberg)