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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Kudrin Bashes IMF Process

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin on Thursday criticized the way the head of the International Monetary Fund is selected, saying the process "doesn't look free."

It appears that countries "are following the unspoken rule of choosing a West European candidate," Kudrin told reporters after meeting with Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister and a nominee to head the IMF. (Bloomberg)

Russneft Gets Issue Ban

Russneft, the oil producer targeted for takeover by billionaire Oleg Deripaska, was banned from issuing stock Thursday by the Federal Service for Financial Markets amid a criminal investigation.

Russneft's existing shares were frozen by a Moscow court on Wednesday at the request of the Interior Ministry. The ministry accuses Russneft's owner, Mikhail Gutseriyev, of tax evasion and "illegal entrepreneurship," charges he has denied. (Bloomberg)

VTB to Finance Polyus Buy?

VTB may finance Alrosa's $2 billion purchase of a 25.5 percent stake in Polyus Gold, Kommersant reported Thursday.

The investment arm of Alrosa has probably formed a group with VTB and Boris Jordan's Sputnik Advisors to buy the Polyus stake from Mikhail Prokhorov, the newspaper reported, citing several unidentified people with knowledge of situation. (Bloomberg)

Golden Telecom Q2 Net Up

Golden Telecom, a Nasdaq-listed provider of Internet, voice and data services, said Thursday that second-quarter profit advanced 46 percent on increased traffic and new customers, beating estimates.

Net income climbed to $33 million from $22.6 million, a year earlier, the company said. Sales rose 51 percent to $297.9 million. (Bloomberg)

RusAl Upgrades Smelter

United Company RusAl will spend $350 million to modernize its Bratsk aluminum smelter in Siberia, the world's biggest, the firm said Thursday.

Upgrades at the plant in the Irkutsk region will reduce emissions by 40 percent, RusAl said. The first stage will be completed in 2011, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Highland Sells 3 Mines

Highland Gold Mining sold three money-losing mines for $25 million in cash and debt, Highland said Wednesday in a statement.

An accident at one of the sites, Darasun, killed 25 people in September.

Darasunsky Rudnik, the owner of the Darasun, Teremky and Talatui mines, was sold to Uzhuralzoloto Group, Highland said. (Bloomberg)

OGK-3 Nets $173 million

OGK-3, a power generator controlled by Norilsk Nickel, posted a profit of 4.4 billion rubles ($173 million) last year, reversing a loss in 2005, OGK-3 said in a statement Wednesday.

The company reported a loss of 898 million rubles in 2005, OGK-3 said. Sales increased 39 percent to 22.3 billion rubles on a 5.2 percent growth in power demand in Russia, it said. (Bloomberg)

Vozrozhdeniye Net Doubles

Regional lender Bank Vozrozhdeniye said Thursday that profit almost doubled in the first half as mortgage loans climbed.

Net income advanced to 674 million rubles ($26.6 million) from 342 million rubles in the same period last year, the bank said on its web site. Mortgage loans outstanding quadrupled to $238 million and now account for 49 percent of all retail loans, the lender said. (Bloomberg)

Kagazy Buys Board Maker

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan Kagazy, a cardboard maker with real estate assets, agreed to buy Kazupack, Kazakhstan's third-largest producer of corrugated board for $5 million, Kagazy said in a statement Thursday.

Kazakhstan Kagazy will assume $3 million of Kazupack's debt and the purchase should be completed by Sept. 30 after an audit is conducted, Kagazy said. (Bloomberg)

OTP Bank Hires Korovin

OTP Bank, Hungary's biggest bank, hired Alexei Korovin to lead its Russian unit Investsberbank, Interfax reported Thursday, citing the Russian bank.

Korovin was formerly the deputy chairman of Impexbank, now part of Raiffeisenbank Zentralbank Oesterreich, the newswire said. (Bloomberg)

Sanoma Buys Kiosk Chain

HELSINKI -- Nordic media group Sanoma said Thursday that it had agreed to buy Russian kiosk operator HDS CIS and press distributor Press Point International from French Lagardere.

Sanoma did not disclose the acquisition price, but said the combined annual net sales of the companies were about 5 million euros ($6.9 million) and that they employ 180 staff. (Reuters)