24 Aug 2010 10:15

Moscow press review for August 24, 2010

MOSCOW. Aug 24 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on August 24. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.


The Altai gas pipeline has been surprisingly entered on the list of "main promising" gas transportation projects in Russia with the launch date set for 2015-18, which is clear from the recently drafted general plan for the development of the gas industry until 2030. The South Stream is to be commissioned step-by-step between 2015 and 2024, according to the strategy. The Energy Ministry is formally the author of the project, although the main figures have been provided by Gazprom and its subsidiaries, Energy Ministry sources said. The ministry will submit the project to the government before the end of August. In spring 2006, Gazprom and China's CNPC signed a protocol on Russian gas shipments to China, hoping to come to terms on the gas price before the end of the year. But the talks on the price are continuing, while China has found a new major gas supplier - Turkmenistan. (Altai Surprise).

Ahead of an IPO, General Motors Co. disclosed a report on its financial performance in Russia for the first time. Between July 10 2009 and the end of the year the company earned $246 million, which is half the revenue, gained in the first half of 2009 ($430 million). GM's overall Russian revenue in 2009 was over 30% below the figure for 2008 - $2 billion. GM sells Chevrolet, Opel and Cadillac cars in Russia, and it has formed one of the largest chains of car dealerships in Russia, built a production facility near St.Petersburg and has acquired a 50% stake in the joint venture, GM-AvtoVAZ. Its luckiest year in Russia was the year 2008, when growth in sales in money terms was 33% compared to 2007, and in physical terms 30%. (General Motors' Rollercoaster, Russian Style).

The board of directors of MegaFon has called an extraordinary shareholder meeting to discuss the purchase from Synterra of a 100% stake in PeterStar, MegaFon has announced. If the deal is supported by the shareholders, the board of directors will propose a plans for MegaFon reorganization after a merger with PeterStar. PeterStar price will be calculated on the basis of its current capitalization of about $230 million, said a source close to the participants in the deal. The board of directors has tentatively approved a deal worth $215 million, said a spokesman for a MegaFon shareholder. (MegaFon Buying PeterStar Again).


Against the backdrop of tensions over Iran, the parties in the Nabucco European gas pipeline project have announced for the first time that they will not lay a branch to Iran, which formally means rejection of its gas. But the project has surprisingly obtained "Turkish sources" of 10 billion cubic meters of gas, annually. No explanation has been given as to how Turkey, a country which extracts only 728 million cubic meters of gas annually, and buys Russian and Iranian gas, will fetch additional volumes. Experts think that international sanctions will not discourage Turkey from doubling gas imports from Iran "for its own needs", and then passing it off for "Turkish." (Page 9. Nabucco Won't Reach Iran).

Deutsche Bank is launching an automated securities trading system for large clients in Hong Kong. From now on, their deals will be non-public and anonymous, and their influence on market quotations will be minimal. Similar systems exist in Russia, too, but if they are to be used, a large number of major clients and a liquid stock market will be needed, experts said. (Page 8, Deutsche Bank Offers New Game).

Poland's major vodka producer, Stock Spirits, has won the exclusive right to buy over 75% in Nemiroff, Kommersant has learned. Stock Spirits has one month at its disposal to finally formulate its offer, while Nemiroff to freeze talks with all other rivals. Nemiroff is tentatively estimated at $330-$370 million. Meanwhile, another potential buyer Rustam Tariko's Russian Standard, said it was not going to give up plans to buy Nemiroff. (Page 10, Poles Freeze Nemiroff).