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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

New Deputy Ag Minister

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday nominated Alexander Chernogorov as Deputy Agriculture Minister as part of the shakeup at the Agriculture Ministry.

The nomination follows Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev's demotion on Monday to the post of governor of the Voronezh region.

Chernogorov was the governor of the Stavropol region, a heavily agricultural area, for 14 years until resigning in April 2008. (MT)

Global Warming to Help?

Global warming may be a worry to low-lying lands, but Russia's top weatherman said Wednesday that warmer temperatures would help to cut heating bills in one of the world's coldest countries.

"The heating season will be reduced, and this is a positive factor for us, as it will allow us to economize on fuel," said Alexander Bedritsky, head of Russia's state weather center, RIA-Novosti reported.

Heating bills in Russia could be cut by 5 to 10 percent by 2050 if current trends continue, the weather center said. (Reuters)

Car Imports Down 73%

Russia imported 29,800 passenger cars in January, a 73 percent drop from the same period last year, according to data released by Avtostat automotive agency.

New cars made up 90 percent of all imported cars, following a controversial levy of additional import tariffs on used cars in January. (MT)

BP Taps Dudley for Board

BP appointed Robert Dudley, the ousted head of TNK-BP, as a director.

Dudley "will assume responsibility for broad oversight of the company's activities in the Americas and Asia," BP said Wednesday. The appointment is effective from April 6. (Bloomberg)

Sberbank's Capital Needs

Sberbank would only need to seek fresh capital if provisions rose to 11 percent to 12 percent of loans from the 5.0 percent to 7.5 percent it expects them to reach by the end of 2009, an executive said Wednesday.

State support for the country's banking sector will be one of the most significant new spending items in the 2009 budget.

Denis Bugrov, Sberbank's senior vice president, told reporters that the bank had revised its five-year strategy, scaling down its forecast for average annual loan portfolio growth to 20 percent from 30 percent before. (Reuters)

Ilim to Cut Workforce 10%

Ilim Group, a pulp and paper company, plans to cut about 10 percent of its workforce and sell assets to cope with Russia's worst economic crisis in a decade.

The company will dismiss 2,500 to 2,800 workers as it revamps operations, spokeswoman Elena Konnova said Wednesday.

Ilim will also sell eight units not connected to pulp and paper production, including regional providers of transport, repairs and other services, Konnova said. (Bloomberg)

Moguls Bid on Coal Deposit

Oleg Deripaska, Alexei Mordashov and Viktor Vekselberg made a joint bid for the rights to the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit in Mongolia, Andrei Petrushinin, a spokesman for Deripaska's energy company EN+ Group, said Wednesday.

The Mongolian government "reacted positively" to the proposal made in January.

Mongolia received nine other bids for Tavan Tolgoi, which may hold 6 billion metric tons of coal, after the government started accepting bids in January, Kommersant reported Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

VTB Lends KamAZ $27M

VTB Group lent KamAZ, the country's biggest truck maker, 1 billion rubles ($27 million) to help finance operations, VTB said Wednesday.

The bank will provide two 500 million ruble loans for one year after opening a 7 billion ruble credit line to KamAZ last November. (Bloomberg)

Auchan Halts Food Orders

Groupe Auchan halted orders of food products that Russian prosecutors said were of "poor quality."

The products in question were supplied and kept in conditions that met Russian standards, the company said Wednesday. Tests are being conducted on the food involved in the Russian probe, Auchan said. (Bloomberg)

Deripaska May Lose Project

Oleg Deripaska may lose a contract to manage the Moskva-City business center, the capital's biggest building project, Deputy Mayor Iosif Ordzhonikidze said, Vedomosti reported.

Moscow plans to hold a tender in the first half of this year to find a manager for the project as it moves to the operational stage from construction, the newspaper reported. (Bloomberg)

VBH's Russian Revenues

VBH Holding, Europe's largest wholesaler of window fittings, missed its 2008 sales and profit forecasts as revenue collapsed in Russia, its second-largest market, CEO Rainer Hribar said Wednesday.

In October, VBH already lowered its projection for earnings before interest and taxes to as much as 48 million euros ($60 million) from a previous forecast of 56 million euros. (Bloomberg)

Deripaska Not Selling Stake

Oleg Deripaska isn't planning to sell his stake in Austrian construction company Strabag, Reuters reported.

Basic Element, Deripaska's investment vehicle, denied an Austrian media report that Strabag's stake may be sold in order to repay debt, the agency reported, citing an unidentified company spokesman. (Bloomberg)

Izosimov to Leave Next Year

VimpelCom CEO Alexander Izosimov said Wednesday that he would not extend his contract that expires next year.

Izosimov wants to spend more time with his family in Sweden and has not decided what he will do next, the CEO said in Barcelona. Izosimov will be available for the transition to new management if needed, he said. (Bloomberg)

Novolipetsk Starts Furnace

Novolipetsk Steel restarted another blast furnace for making pig iron, increasing capacity by 700,000 tons a year. (Bloomberg)