15 Nov 2010 10:24

Moscow press review for November 15, 2010

MOSCOW. November 15 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on November 15. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.


"Plans to liberalize the Russian natural gas market and the principle of equal profitability from contractual gas prices in Europe will lead to the extinction of the national nitrate fertilizer industry," 18 agrochemical companies wrote to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in September. Officials heeded agrochemists. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has suggested giving 10-15% gas discounts to fertilizer producers and providing an opportunity for new producers to receive gas at favorable fixed prices, two officials told Vedomosti, but the decision is up to the government. ("Discount from the Ministry of Industry and Trade").

Czech financial group Home Credit (owned by Peter Kellner's PPF Group) could sell its businesses in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia to the VTB Group . The Czech group already has banks in Vietnam and China. It is going to develop business in India as well, a source from the PPF Group said. A banker close to the VTB management confirmed to Vedomosti that the company is in talks over the purchase of Home Credit and Finance Bank (HCF Bank), but said that no decision has been made yet. A financier cooperating with PPF Group said talks with VTB are under way and could end up in a deal. On Saturday a VTB spokesperson denied reports of both talks and a forthcoming deal, as did Milan Tomanek of PPF Group. ("Czech credit from VTB").

Last week Metropol and Japanese financial group SBI Holdings signed in Tokyo a statement on completing the purchase by SBI of 50% in the capital of the United Investment Bank (Obibank, a Metropol Group company), Metropol owner Mikhail Slipenchuk told Vedomosti. SBI will become a co-owner of Obibank after the deal and receiving licenses from the Central Bank and the Federal Anti-monopoly Service. Obibank will become the first Russian-Japanese bank, Toyota Bank and Mizuho Corporate Bank, 100%-owned by foreign companies. The purpose of the deal negotiated by the parties in February is to implement and develop Internet-banking technologies that proved themselves well in Japan. ("Slipenchuk throws in Japanese net").


The results of the federal budget spending in the first ten months of 2010 presented by the Finance Ministry showed this year's lowest current deficit at 2.1% of GDP instead of the planned 5.3% GDP by the year-end. The ministry, however, is not in a big rush to change the unfulfilled forecast: reducing the expected profits and short funding of inflated state spending will soon enable it to report better than planned indicators of the 2010 state treasury. (Page 6, "Budget deficit is struggling to catch up with MinFin").

Kommersant has learnt that MTS will buy Sistema Telecom from its controlling shareholder, AFK Sistema . Until mid-2007 the company managed all AFK telecommunications assets, including those of MTS, currently it still owns all 'egg' trademarks. MTS will pay for them around $380 million. (Page 10, "MTS is holding on to eggs").

Prosperity Capital Management plans to litigate with Mikhail Abyzov's RU-COM, which, according to the fund, withdrew assets from the Novosibirsk-based equipment maker, NPO Elsib (the fund owns 14% of its shares). RU-COM admits the sale of Elsib assets but reassures that it withdrew non-core assets. Prosperity Capital Management can challenge the deal successfully only if it proves that the buyer of these assets is affiliated to RU-COM. (Minority shareholders are fighting for Elsib).

Oleg Deripaska's Glavstroy will build 300,000 square meters of homes within two years in Caracas for people relocated from old houses. This is the first foreign project for the company. Moscow developers were asked to help local slum residents by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin after his April meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Yelena Baturina's Inteco also promised help in construction. (Page 9, "Oleg Deripaska will clear slums").