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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Gas Forum Timeline

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum, a loose group of gas suppliers including Russia, Iran and Qatar, wants to re-register as a more formal organization with a new charter by August, a government source said Wednesday.

Its 11 members' candidates for secretary general must be named by the end of May, the source said, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized to speak officially on the group's plans. Energy ministers from the countries will vote on the candidates at the next meeting, this fall or December, he said.

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum convened in Moscow in December to adopt a charter that seeks to give it more influence and agreed to work more closely to control supply levels. (MT)

Carrefour to Open Store

French hypermarket chain Carrefour is on track to open its first store in Moscow in May, a long-awaited move by the world's No. 2 food retailer, real estate sources told Reuters.

"Carrefour will open up in the Filion shopping center as expected in May, the likely period is May 10 to 30," a source at the center's developer said.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle, the leasing agent for the trade center, Carrefour will occupy 14,300 square meters of space on two floors of the mall, which will open in May near Fili metro station. (Reuters)

February Gasoline Prices Up

The State Statistics Service said Wednesday that producer prices for gasoline jumped 27 percent in February after bottoming out in January, which could possibly revive a government drive to push down prices on refined oil products.

Consumer prices were down 1.6 percent in February from the previous month and 0.6 percent for the week ending Sunday, according to data on the service's web site. Retail prices for gasoline tend to follow producer prices but not as sharply and with a lag.

The rise was the first in six months. In February, Federal Anti-Monopoly Service chief Igor Artemyev said cases would be opened against all 251 companies in Russia selling refined oil products because of "intolerably high" gasoline prices. (MT)

Shtokman Financing Talks

The partners in the Shtokman gas project will begin talks this year with banks over financing, the head of its operating firm said Wednesday.

The first stage of the ambitious project, controlled by Gazprom, will cost $15 billion, though partners will be able to initially finance part of it, Yury Komarov told reporters. "We will begin intense talks with banks this year. … The founders understand that initial funding will come from our own capital," Komarov said. (Reuters)

RusAl May Cut Output 25%

United Company RusAl plans to cut output costs by 25 percent by the third quarter after a slump in the world price of the metal, the company told analysts at a meeting on Wednesday.

RusAl will produce aluminum at $1,040 a ton, analysts said, citing a briefing today by the company. RusAl spokeswoman Vera Kurochkina confirmed the cost. The figure compares with the $1,380 a ton in February and more than $1,800 in October, RusAl said. (Bloomberg)

Kerimov's 45% PIK Stake?

Billionaire Suleiman Kerimov may get a 45 percent stake in PIK Group for helping the builder restructure 49 billion rubles ($1.5 billion) of debt, Kommersant said, citing an unidentified person familiar with negotiations.

Kerimov pledged to organize debt talks between PIK and Sberbank, in which his Nafta-Moskva holding company owns shares, as well as negotiate apartment sales to the federal government, Kommersant said. He will not pay cash or assume responsibility for paying PIK's debt, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

RuNet Must Stay Russian

Russia's major Internet companies such as search engines should be owned by Russians, Communications and Press Minister Igor Shchegolev said, Vedomosti reported.

While the ministry won't control the web sites' content, it wants teams that create Russian web products to be based in the country, Shchegolev said in an interview with the newspaper. (Bloomberg)

Razgulai to Float Debt Plan

Razgulai Group, a grain and sugar producer, will tomorrow propose a debt restructuring to bondholders following an "unfavorable economic situation."

Razgulai will offer investors holding three series of five-year notes with several possibilities for restructuring debt, Razgulai said in a statement on its web site dated Tuesday. (Bloomberg)