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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Nord Stream Redirected

Nord Stream, the Gazprom joint venture that is building a pipeline to ship natural gas from Russia to Germany, changed the route of the link under the Baltic Sea to avoid delays over disputed waters, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Nord Stream will build the pipeline to the north of the Danish island of Bornholm, adding eight kilometers to the length, the company said. Nord Stream has sought to avoid waters claimed by Poland and Denmark, after Poland threatened to block construction of the pipeline and because of munitions dumps to the south of Bornholm. (Bloomberg)

MICEX Net Doubles

MICEX Group, which owns the MICEX exchange, said Tuesday that profit more than doubled last year as trading volume rose on the country's biggest bourse.

Net income jumped to 2.4 billion rubles ($92.7 million) from 1.1 billion rubles a year earlier, MICEX said in a statement. Results were to international standards. (Bloomberg)

Novorossiisk Port Plans IPO

Novorossiisk Trading Port, Russia's largest port on the Black Sea, plans to sell shares in an initial public offering.

The company will ask stockholders to approve a plan Sept. 24 to sell shares and global depositary receipts, it said in a statement Aug. 17, which was distributed through the Spark Emitent disclosure web site.

The government holds 20 percent of the port, the company's first-quarter financial report said. About 61 percent of the shares are held by five investment funds. (Bloomberg)

Berezovsky Trial Postponed

Moscow's Savyolovsky District Court on Tuesday postponed to Sept. 5 the trial in absentia of Boris Berezovsky on charges of embezzling $8.3 million from Aeroflot.

Alexander Dudkin, the court-appointed lawyer representing Berezovsky, requested additional time to study case files, saying that he had managed to read 89 of the 123 volumes pertaining to the trial.

If found guilty, Berezovsky could stand to receive a 10-year sentence. (MT)

LG Eyes Siberian Coal Firms

LG International may team up with other Korean companies to bid for two coal deposits in Siberia that will be auctioned Oct. 5, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

LG-led Korea Resources may bid for majority stakes in Elgaugol and Yakutugol, the newspaper said, without saying where it got the information. Besides taking part in the auction, LG could buy a minority stake in the two coal producers from the winner, Kommersant reported, citing a source within the company. (Bloomberg)

Banks Seek Liquidity

Russian banks are seeking loans to fund consumer lending growth amid a "crisis of liquidity" that has halted bond sales, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

Home Credit and Finance Bank, a unit of the Czech PPF Group, on Monday said it borrowed 265 million euros ($357 million) for one year, the newspaper said, citing banks involved in the transactions. Calyon and Erste Bank helped arrange the loan.

Ursa Bank is borrowing $225 million, Kommersant reported. (Bloomberg)

Strabag Exemption Sought

FRANKFURT -- Oleg Deripaska, who bought a 30 percent stake in Austria's Strabag in April, applied to the German financial regulator to be freed from a compulsory takeover bid for the builder's German unit, Financial Times Deutschland reported Tuesday, citing a Strabag spokesman.

Deripaska's Rasperia Trading investment company aims to avoid an offer to minority investors because Strabag's share price has surged since the start of the year amid takeover speculation, boosting its market value to more than 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion), the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

State Drug Firm Planned

The government plans to create a state-run corporation to distribute medicines under its subsidized drug program, which could save as much as an annual 4 billion rubles ($155 million), Kommersant reported Tuesday.

The Pharmaceutical Logistics Complex will order medicines from drug makers and pay for them after they have been sold in pharmacies, the newspaper said. The distributor will also take a 2 percent commission, Kommersant reported.

Commercial distributors can now charge up to 100 percent commission for some medicines, said David Melik-Guseinov, head of market research at Pharmexpert, the newspaper reported. (Bloomberg)

Axel Springer Seeks Partner

LONDON -- Axel Springer, Europe's biggest newspaper publisher, is seeking to work with a Russian publisher to expand its business in the country, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported Monday, citing a source within the company.

One of the partners could be Kommersant, the newspaper said. Speculation that Axel Springer may buy a stake in Kommersant is wrong because the forthcoming State Duma and presidential elections would make such a deal impossible, Handelsblatt cited the source as saying. (Bloomberg)

UPM's Wood Imports Drop

HELSINKI -- UPM-Kymmene's wood imports from Russia have dropped "drastically" after the country raised timber tariffs from July, Finnish newspaper Taloussanomat reported Tuesday, citing a company executive.

The volume of timber bought from Russia will fall by more than one-fifth this year, said Jaakko Sarantola, head of Helsinki-based UPM's forests division, the newspaper reported. At another Finnish papermaker, Stora Enso, wood imports from Russia have dropped by as much as 3 million cubic meters, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

Matra Says Losses Narrow

LONDON -- Matra Petroleum, an oil and gas explorer focusing on Central and Eastern Europe, said Tuesday that its loss for the six months through June narrowed to 243,715 euros ($328,430) from 667,118 euros a year earlier.

Matra, based in Britain, plans further exploratory drilling at its Russian and Hungarian fields at the end of this year or early in 2008, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Kazakhs Raises Coal Target

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan, which has the world's eighth-biggest reserves of coal, has raised its production target for the fuel by one-third as the country's booming economy fuels an increase in power consumption, the Kazakh Energy Ministry said Tuesday.

The biggest energy producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia plans to mine as much as 130 million tons of coal a year by 2015, the ministry said. The Kazakh government had earlier forecast output of 100 million tons. (Bloomberg)