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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Prices to Increase 0.4%

Consumer prices will probably rise 0.3 percent to 0.4 percent in September, acting Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Tuesday.

Inflation for the first nine months of the year may reach 7 percent, down from 7.2 percent for the same period last year, Gref said, Interfax reported. The government aims to contain annual consumer price growth at 8 percent this year. (Bloomberg)

Callebaut to Triple Sales

Barry Callebaut, the world's biggest maker of bulk chocolate, plans to triple sales in Russia within three years and may build another factory in the region to help meet demand, chairman Andreas Jacobs said Tuesday at the opening of the company's first factory in the country.

"Unlike in Asia, the Russian people are used to chocolate, so we have a great basis to grow business," Jacobs said. (Bloomberg)

Rosneft Refinery in 2012

Rosneft plans to open the first phase of a new refinery on the Pacific coast by 2012, vice president Alexander Sapronov said Tuesday.

Refining capacity in the first phase will be 10 million tons, Sapronov said at a business forum in Khabarovsk, Interfax reported. Eventually, capacity will be raised to 20 million tons when a second phase is completed. (Bloomberg)

Pharmstandard Profit Soars

Pharmstandard said Tuesday that profit rose 49 percent in the first half on surging sales and lower costs.

Net income climbed to 962 million rubles ($38 million) from 647 million rubles in the same period last year, the company said. Revenue grew 52 percent to 4.43 billion rubles. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Signs Saipem Deal

Gazprom's Nord Stream venture signed a letter of intent with Saipem to build a 1,200-kilometer gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, Nord Stream spokeswoman Irina Vasilyeva said Tuesday.

"The commercial details are not yet fixed," Vasilyeva said.

The final agreement to build the project's dual pipelines will be signed by February, she said. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom's Kovykta Plan

Gazprom will tell the government by the end of the year when it plans to start production at Kovykta, the gas field it agreed to buy from TNK-BP.

Gazprom head Alexei Miller and Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev agreed on the new deadline at a meeting Tuesday, joint e-mailed statements said. The ministry had previously extended the deadline to the end of September from the end of August, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

MMK Considers Other Sites

Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works is considering alternative sites to Ohio for a planned $1 billion plant, company spokeswoman Yelena Azovsteva said Tuesday.

Azovsteva confirmed that alternatives were being considered, without naming them. Magnitogorsk is considering a site in Quebec, Interfax reported, citing a company official it did not identify. (Bloomberg)

Zurich Financial Buyouts

FRANKFURT -- Zurich Financial Services, Switzerland's largest insurer, wants to expand through acquisitions in emerging markets, chief financial officer Dieter Wemmer said.

Purchases would make sense in Eastern Europe, Russia and China, where the company has invested too little in the past, Wemmer told German newspaper Handelsblatt in an interview published Tuesday. Zurich Financial Services has "sufficient money" if it finds an "attractive" candidate, Wemmer said. (Bloomberg)

TNK-BP to Spend $500M

TNK-BP plans to spend $500 million to boost oil refining, which is more profitable than exporting crude, company spokeswoman Marina Dracheva said.

TNK-BP will make that investment by 2009, Dracheva said Tuesday, confirming remarks CEO Robert Dudley made on Vesti-24. (Bloomberg)

Gas Flaring Rises 14%

LONDON -- A World Bank-funded study says about $40 billion worth of natural gas was burned off, or flared, worldwide last year, up 14 percent from 2004, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The increase came partly because gas and oil prices rose during the period. Russia and China are among 22 countries that do more flaring than a decade ago, the report said. (Bloomberg)

AvtoVAZ, Magna Doubts

AvtoVAZ and Magna International will probably drop plans to build a car factory together, AvtoVAZ head Boris Alyoshin said Tuesday.

AvtoVAZ and Magna may limit their cooperation to designing cars at the suggestion of the Canadian auto-parts maker, he said. (Bloomberg)

Gazprombank Seeks Loans

Gazprombank, the banking arm of Gazprom, set up a program to borrow as much as $10 billion, Interfax reported Tuesday, citing an unidentified person familiar with the bank's plans.

The company hired Barclays Capital and Citigroup to organize the debt program, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)

$130M Declared in Amnesty

Russians reported 3.22 billion rubles ($130 million) in previously undeclared income in the first six months of a tax amnesty, Interfax said Tuesday, citing the federal treasury.

More than 2.06 billion came from Moscow and it generated 268.3 million rubles in taxes. (Bloomberg)

2,000 Tons of Sukhoi Gold

The country's largest untapped gold field, Sukhoi Log, may hold 2,000 tons of the metal, Interfax reported Tuesday, citing Federal Subsoil Resource Use Agency officials in the Irkutsk region, where the deposit is located.

That is the conclusion of a new assessment of the deposit conducted by the federal government, which owns the field, and Polyus, the country's biggest gold miner. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

State-owned Vneshekonombank has sold 5.6 percent of Novatek, the country's second-largest gas producer, to "maintain liquidity," chairman Vladimir Dmitriyev said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil found additional reserves at the Meleiha block in Egypt, the company's overseas arm said in a statement Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil said Tuesday that it planned to build a refinery in Venezuela with state company Petroleos de Venezuela to process heavy oil from the Faja de Orinoco region. (Bloomberg)

Rosneft doubled its cost estimate for revamping the Tuapse oil refinery by the Black Sea to $4 billion, Interfax reported Tuesday. (Bloomberg)