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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Polonsky Offers Reward

Mirax Group has offered a reward of 750,000 rubles ($20,800) for information on whoever ordered a so-called "black PR" campaign against the company and its chairman and majority shareholder, Sergei Polonsky.

"A great deal of false information has appeared in the media recently about Mirax Group that seems to have been orchestrated. There is an organized information campaign being carried out aimed at inflicting damage on the business reputation of Mirax Group and its chairman, Sergei Polonsky," the company said in a statement.

In October, Polonsky wrote an open letter to journalists imploring them to create a "positive image" of the construction industry, saying that "the future and success of builders depends on you."(MT)

Superjet Deliveries Delayed

The first deliveries of Russia's long-delayed Superjet 100 aircraft will be postponed by another month until December, a senior official from Russian state plane maker Sukhoi was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Sukhoi said Aeroflot would receive its first Superjet aircraft in December.

Aeroflot said it had been promised that deliveries would take place in November 2009, which is already a delay to initial forecasts of first deliveries at the end of 2008.(Reuters)

China Money Coming Soon

Rosneft, which must repay $7 billion in debt this year, may begin receiving money under an accord signed between Russia and China by the end of the summer.

The firm agreed in February to provide 301,000 barrels of oil a day for 20 years in return for a $15 billion loan from China Development Bank as part of a larger energy accord between Russia and China.(Bloomberg)

OGK-4 Ups Output 9.1%

OGK-4, a power producer controlled by E.ON, increased electricity output 9.1 percent in January from a year earlier, even as demand slumped nationwide.

OGK-4 produced 5.34 billion kilowatt hours in the first month of this year, the utility said Wednesday. OGK-4's five power plants operated with a capacity utilization of 83.2 percent in January.(Bloomberg)

Builder to Restructure Debt

LenSpecSMU, a St. Petersburg-based property developer, reached an deal with investors in its $100 million of bonds to restructure debt, LenSpecSmu's chairman Vyacheslav Zarenkov said Wednesday, Interfax reported.

Holders of 9.75 percent five-year notes sold in April 2007 agreed to waive the April 2009 put option, which gave them the right to redeem the debt, and boost the coupon payment to 12 percent. (Bloomberg)

VTB to Service China Loans

VTB Group will become a servicing agent for $25 billion of loans from China Development Bank approved last month, Kommersant reported.

State-owned VTB was picked over Vneshekonombank to manage the transaction on insistence from China partly because it has a Chinese subsidiary, it said.

VTB will be servicing the 20-year loan that China gave to state oil company Rosneft and pipeline operator Transneft in return for oil supplies, it cited an unidentified government official as saying.(Bloomberg)

Overdue Mortgages to Rise

Presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich said Wednesday that the number of overdue mortgages in the country may double this year from the current level of about 5 percent.

The government may provide more funding for mortgages as it seeks to reduce rates, he said.(Bloomberg)

Deripaska's Russneft Debt

Sberbank may support Gazprom Neft's taking control of Russneft shares pledged to the state-controlled bank by Oleg Deripaska as security for $4.1 billion in loans, Vedomosti reported.

Sberbank would like the Russneft shares to move to a company less burdened by debt, Vedomosti said, citing an unidentified person close to Sberbank.(Bloomberg)

GAZ Defers to Creditors

Oleg Deripaska's GAZ Group ceded some management control to creditors, Vedomosti reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Sberbank, VTB Group, Alfa Bank and Raiffeisen International Bank Holding agreed last week at a meeting with Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina to restructure GAZ's 44.8 billion ruble ($1.23 billion) debt on the condition that they gain some control over the company's operations, the newspaper said.(Bloomberg)

Gazprom to Cut Shipments

Gazprom plans to cut the amount of natural gas it ships for independent producers as demand falls, said Alexander Mikheyev, the pipeline monopoly's first deputy head of sales, Vedomosti reported.

Novatek, the country's second-largest gas producer, has boosted output 11 percent in the first two months of the year, while Gazprom reduced its own natural gas production 16 percent, the newspaper said.(Bloomberg)

Armenia to Buy Diamonds

Armenia will use part of the loan it will soon receive from Russia to buy rough diamonds from Alrosa, several sources familiar with the talks told Interfax.

It was reported that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at his meeting with Armenian counterpart Tigran Sargsyan last week that Russia will soon grant a $500 million loan to Armenia and that the parties "effectively completed work on this issue."

The loan is being granted on the condition that Armenia will buy rough diamonds from the Russian rough diamond provider for further cutting, said a source close to Alrosa.

This information was also confirmed to Interfax by a source at the Finance Ministry, who said, "It was decided that Russia will grant a loan to Armenia, which will use part of it to buy rough diamonds from Alrosa, because Armenia is interested in developing its gem cutting industry."(Reuters)

Uralkali Cuts Potash Prices

Uralkali cut prices of the raw material for the first time since 2006 as farmers' ability to pay for fertilizer weakened.

Brazilian customers of Belarussian Potash, Uralkali's venture with Belaruskali, will pay $750 to $765 a ton, depending on volume, in March to May this year, Uralkali said Wednesday. Prices were previously $1,000 to $1,010.

The global financial crisis has led to lower prices for soybeans, corn and other crops grown by Brazilian farmers and reduced their ability to buy fertilizer, Uralkali said. (Bloomberg)

Retailer Index Rises

A gauge of Russian service industries from banks to mobile phone retailers rose in February.

The Purchasing Managers' Index, a gauge of Russian service industries from banks to mobile phones, rose to 40 in February from 36.8 in the previous month, VTB Capital said Wednesday.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, below 50 a contraction. Business activity contracted for a fifth consecutive month, the report said. (Bloomberg)

Magnit Gets $69M Loan

Magnit, Russia's second-largest food retailer, said Alfa Bank and VTB Group agreed to lend a total of 2.5 billion rubles ($69 million), the retailer said Wednesday.

Alfa will lend 2 billion rubles and VTB will lend 500 million at interest rates of "no more" than 25 percent a year. (Bloomberg)

Central Bank Cancels Repos

The Central Bank canceled a repurchase loan auction Wednesday because there were not enough bids from lenders.

The regular afternoon repo auction was not held because there were insufficient bids from lenders, the bank said.(Bloomberg)