26 Aug 2010 10:27

Moscow press review for August 26, 2010

MOSCOW. Aug 26 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on August 26. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.


Surgutneftegas's financial reports have shown why the company's production is going down despite a record speed with which it is drilling new wells. Surgutneftegas's principal fields in western Siberia are wearing out, and the new ones, located in eastern Siberia, are so far incapable of replacing the old ones. From July 2009 to July 2010, the company produced 8.9 million tonnes of oil at its main field, Fyodorovskoye, according to its reports in line with Russian financial reporting standards. The company's general performance is also declining: from 2006 to the end of the first half of 2010, its daily production went down by 10%, even though a number of new fields were opened. What counts most now is whether Surgutneftegas can slow down its production decline at the key western Siberian fields to 1%-2% a year so that its general performance stop declining as well ('Oil Runs Away From Surgut').

U.S. businessman James Justice and his family plan to sell more of their preferred shares in Mechel , a source close to the company told Vedomosti. The businessman and his family could sell up to 16.5 million ADS on Mechel shares (5.94% of the overall number of preferred shares, or 1.5% of the company's authorized capital). A source close to Mechel said the deal is to be arranged by Renaissance Capital and Morgan Stanley. The placement will be conducted by November, a source close to the organizers said. After that, the family will be able to place shares only in Russia ('Mechel For Sale').

The board of directors of the Netherlands-based Vimpelcom Ltd. will hold a meeting in Amsterdam on Thursday to discuss the purchase of 100% in the Italian cell operator Wind and 51% in Egypt's Orascom Telecom Holding, which controls a number of operators in Africa and Asia, from Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris and his family, of which Vedomosti learned from two sources close to Vimpelcom Ltd.'s principal shareholders, Altimo and Telenor. The issue will not be put up for voting, but the potential deal will be thoroughly discussed, both sources said. Since the information on these negotiations was leaked to the press, Vimpelcom Ltd.'s lost 12.8% of its value ('Vimpelcom Ltd. To Listen To Board').


Following two years of debates with power companies, the Russian government has finally agreed upon mandatory investment programs for OGKs and TGKs for the period up to 2015-2017. Only these projects can guarantee investors increased payments compensating for their construction costs. At the same time, they will face significant fines for failing to meet deadlines (page 7, 'Obligations Imposed On Powermen').

Following Sberbank and Bank of Moscow , VTB 24 also announced the increasing of interest rates on individual foreign currency deposits on Wednesday. State-owned banks earlier reduced their interest rates on foreign currency deposits too actively to 2%-4%, and this has depleted the volume of foreign currency deposits in some major banks quicker than their foreign currency credit portfolios (page 7, 'Banks Going After Foreign Currency, see also Vedomosti, Foreign Currency For Oligarchs').

The organizers of the 3rd Moscow International Automobile Salon (MIAS), which opened on Wednesday, expect about two million visitors, which makes the exhibition more popular than the international car shows in Geneva and Detroit. Most premieres in Moscow are expected to be unveiled in the premium segment, which has almost not been affected by the general slump on the Russian car market. Now almost all automakers share the opinion that the market will be recovering sooner than it was expected earlier (page 10, 'Moscow Auto Salon Opens In Premium Class', see also Vedomosti, 'Reaching 2014').