14 Dec 2009 10:11

Moscow press review for December 14, 2009

MOSCOW. Dec 14 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on December 14. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.


Lukoil has closed the deal of buying back its 46% stake in Lukarco B.V. from its long-standing partner - BP. Now it owns 100% in Lukarco. The sum of the deal is $1.6 billion payable in three installments in 2010-2011, Lukoil and BP report. Lukarco must pay back a $43 million loan to BP, the British company adds. The key assets of Lukarco are 12.5% in the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), the owner and operator of the oil pipeline from Kazakhstan to Novorossiisk with annual throughput capacity of 28.2 million tonnes, and 5% in Tegizchevroil. ("PB pulling out of CPC")

The Russian Central Bank expects inflation to amount to 7.5% in 2010 though official forecasts are marked by "greater inertia", Vyacheslav Morgunov, a senior bank official has announced. The official forecast of the Central Bank for 2010 is 9-10%. This year prices will grow by approximately 9% or even less, Morgunov said. The figure for the period ending with December 7 is 8.5%. So far Russia posted its lowest inflation rate in 2006 at 9%. In H2 2010 the growth of prices may accelerate, analysts say.

The International Monetary Fund will not extend a loan to Ukraine before the presidential elections in January due to the inability of the local authorities to assume control over state coffers. It will return to the subject of the loan after key political players reach agreement. Ukraine needs $2 billion to pay salaries and pensions, make monthly payments for Russian natural gas and service foreign debts. ("Short of $2 Billion")

Transaero has completed the procedure of splitting shares (1:100), the company reports. The move was planned in the framework of preparing for the IPO, Transaero managers said. The time of the placing has not been set. Nevertheless, in January 2010 Transaero is planning to get listed at MICEX, its Financial Director Yevgeny Temyakov said. This is one of the preparatory stages for the public or private placement of shares. ("Approaching the Exchange")

The Digital Sky Technologies (DST) investment company of Yury Milner, Grigory Finger and Alisher Usmanov may acquire Russia's most popular messenger service - ICQ. The sum of the deal may amount to $200-250 million. A source close to DST shareholders reported the talks with AOL on the acquisition of the ICQ. ("ICQ for Russia")


Russia and Belarus have agreed on the terms of oil deliveries in 2010, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko reported on Friday. The Russian side to the negotiations is more reserved in evaluating the outcome of the talks so far. It is possible that Russia agreed to reduce export duties for Belarus in exchange for the involvement of its Lukoil and Rosneft companies in the privatization of the Belarusian NAFTAN-Polimir. (p. 2 "Belarus signs Oil Bill, and also Vedomosti - "Wait for 12 Years for Promises to Materialize")

Maxi Group belonging to the Novolipetsk Steel (NLMK) group has faced problems with the construction of a new steel plant in Kaluga region worth 32 billion rubles. The project is opposed by Yermolino military airfield subordinate to the Interior Ministry in the vicinity of which the plant is supposed to be built. Analysts say that the delay in the project may result in the loss of a market share for Novolipetsk Steel at the time of its revival. (p. 9 "NLMK didn't fit in Military Airdrome")

The Board of Directors of Rostelecom , Russian's biggest operator of ground communication lines, on Friday approved its delisting from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The trading had been modest (the average daily turnover of receipts amounted to about 1% of the overall trading in Rostelecom securities) while annual cost of maintaining the listing cost was around $6 million. However, the main reason for the delisting is the pending reorganization of the Svyazinvest state-owned holding owning 50.67% in Rostelecom which requirements of US law could complicate. (p. 12 "Rostelecom will escape US Legislation")