Business in Brief

Dividends Tax Exemption?

Russian companies may no longer have to pay a tax on dividends from shares in domestic and foreign companies beginning next year, Kommersant said, citing Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov.

The tax exemption would only apply to so-called strategic investors, with minimum stakes of 15 percent or 20 percent in their subsidiaries, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

Cyprus Bank Seeks Clients

Bank of Cyprus, the island country's biggest lender, plans to seek more clients in Russia and Romania as more companies from those countries use the Mediterranean island as a financial base.

International companies are increasingly using Cyprus as a base for business in Russia and other former Soviet republics. Many are drawn to Cyprus' low tax rates and a treaty with Russia and former Soviet republics that avoids double taxation, Kypri newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

Prices Rise in September

Consumer prices rose from 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent in September, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry said, fueling speculation the Central Bank will miss this year's inflation target.

Prices climbed 0.2 percent in August and 0.3 percent in September of last year, the ministry said Monday on its web site. (Bloomberg)

Kazakh Refinery in Turkey

ISTANBUL -- Kazakhstan's state oil company, MazMunaiGaz, may build a refinery at Ceyhan, on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, newspaper Aksam reported.

KazMunaiGaz wrote to Turkey's energy regulator to say it wanted to build a refinery and inquired about the tax regime and other conditions, Aksam reported, without saying how it got the information. The refinery would cost at least $3 billion, Aksam reported. (Bloomberg)

Novatek Looks to Electricity

Novatek, the country's second-largest natural gas producer, acquired 60 percent of a joint venture that will invest in electricity generation.

Novatek and OGK-5, which next year will become one of the first two power generators Russia divests, set up the Northern Energy together, Novatek said in a BusinessWire statement Monday. (Bloomberg)

Russia to Take Nuclear Rods

BELGRADE, Serbia -- The Russian government has agreed to take 2.3 tons of spent fuel from a closed Serbian nuclear reactor to ensure the radioactive waste did not end up in terrorist hands, Serbia's science minister said Monday.

Some 8,000 spent fuel rods from the Institute of Nuclear Sciences in Vinca, outside Belgrade, will be transported under a $10 million deal signed last week at an International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Vienna, Austria, Serbian Science Minister Aleksandar Popovic said. (AP)

Russian Copper Hires Amro

Russian Copper, the country's third-biggest producer of the metal, hired ABN Amro to arrange its first syndicated loan, Interfax said, citing an unnamed source.

The report had no further details.

Russian Copper, based in Yekaterinburg, raised $100 million from a sale of credit-linked notes in December 2005, paying an annual interest rate of 9.25 percent, Interfax said. Alfa Bank arranged the sale. (Bloomberg)

TMK's $300M Bond Sale

Trubnaya Metallurgicheskaya Kompaniya, the world's second-biggest maker of steel pipes for the oil and gas industry, will sell $300 million of bonds in dollars to refinance debt.

The three-year bonds will be priced to yield 8.5 percent, Trubnaya said Monday in an e-mailed statement. A Luxembourg-registered subsidiary, TMK Capital, will organize the bond sale, which will be managed by Citigroup, Credit Suisse Group and Dresdner Kleinwort, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Credit for Ball-Bearing Firm

European Bearing Corp., the country's biggest ball-bearing maker, plans to sell $150 million of credit-linked notes, according to documents e-mailed by MDM Bank.

MDM Bank is arranging the sale, according to the documents. The notes will probably pay a coupon of from 9.5 percent to 9.75 percent, the documents show. (Bloomberg)

Metal Plant's Sale Gets OK

A Kiev Court approved the sale of VAT Nikopolskiy Ferrosplavnyi Zavod, the country's biggest producer of ferromanganese, undermining a Ukrainian presidential promise to hold a new sale of the company, the news agency Ukraynska Pravda reported.

The original sale was conducted properly, the court said, and the state property fund has no right to take back the company, according to Ukraynska Pravda. (Bloomberg)

$1.1Bln Sought for Uralkali

Billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev is seeking $1.1 billion by selling shares in his Uralkali, the world's fifth-largest producer of potassium fertilizers, after the stock rose more than 40-fold since 2002.

Madura Holding is offering 442.7 million shares, or 21 percent of the company, for $2.05 to $2.45 each, the Berezniki, Perm region-based company said Monday in a Regulatory News Statement. (Bloomberg)

Lenta's October IPO

Lenta, a discount retailer, plans to sell shares for $300 million in an initial public offering next month, International Financing Review reported, without saying how it obtained the information.

Goldman Sachs and UBS are managing the IPO, which will include the sale of Global Depositary Receipts that will be listed in London, IFR said.

Lenta, founded in 1993, has 10 so-called hypermarkets in St. Petersburg, according to the company's web site. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom to Expand Abroad

Gazprom, the world's largest producer of natural gas, plans to expand projects in Africa and Asia to produce liquefied natural gas and develop a supply infrastructure.

Gazprom signed a memorandum of understanding with Sonagas, Guinea's national gas company, and Suntera, a joint venture between Russia's NGK Itera and India's Sun Group, to examine possible projects in electricity generation and LNG making in the African state, Gazprom said Monday in an e-mail. (Bloomberg)

Kopeika to Sell Shares

Grocery chain Kopeika will probably sell shares in 2007, Interfax reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the company's plans.

Kopeika said June 27 that it had postponed an initial public offering in London because of price swings in stock markets. (Bloomberg)

Moscow No. 1 for Building

Moscow surpassed Beijing and Shanghai in new construction and now has the greatest amount of space under construction worldwide, a survey by commercial real estate brokerage Colliers International said last week.

Moscow has 26.9 million square feet of office space under construction, followed by Dubai with 24 million square feet, Colliers said. Beijing was next at 23.6 million feet, then Shanghai at 21.6 million.

"The motto here is, 'If you build it, it will lease, even if it's not great product,'" said Aaron Block, a director for Cushman & Wakefield Stiles Riabokobylko in Russia. "It's the highest-profile market for us right now." (Bloomberg)

Developer Raises $881M

Open Investments, a property developer controlled by billionaires Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Prokhorov, raised $881 million in a secondary public offering of stock, the most ever for a Russian real estate firm.

Open Investments sold 4.88 million shares at $180.75 apiece, the company said Friday in an e-mailed statement. Interros, the billionaires' holding company, bought about $529 million of the new stock to maintain its 60 percent stake.

The company doubled the amount of shares outstanding and is now valued at $1.76 billion. ING and Renaissance Capital managed the sale. (Bloomberg)

Ice Rink to Open at ZiL

The former Likhachyov ZiL factory is soon to house one of the city's largest entertainment and shopping centers, the commercial real estate brokerage Colliers International said.

The complex, to be called River Mall, will occupy 221,000 square meters and include a movie theater and skating rink when it opens in late 2008, the brokerage said in an e-mailed statement.

Established in 1916, ZiL is Russia's oldest car company, and it sold the plant near the Avtozavodskaya metro station to pay off debt last year. (MT)

Mirax to Invest $2Bln

Mirax Group plans to invest over $2 billion in office and apartment buildings in the next three or four years, Vedmosti reported.

The construction will make Mirax the largest developer in western Moscow, where its projects are centered.

The firm has 1 million square meters of commercial real estate space under its control and is building another 5 million in the city's western parts.

The group's largest project is a new mikroraion, or small neighborhood, of 700,000 square meters that it is building in the city's Fili-Davydenko region. (MT)

Houseboats Come to Russia

Houseboats will soon hit the Moscow River, with DMZ-Kamov bringing a virtually unknown way of living to Russia, real estate web site said.

The Moscow region tourism committee said the project would be the first of its kind in Russia, M2 said. A DMZ-Kamov boat called "RiverLife" was lowered into the river last week.

The company is probably best known for its aircraft and rocket technologies.

A model of RiverLife will be on display at the Yacht and Cutter Salon at the Crocus Expo exhibition center until Oct. 1, M2 said. (MT)