3 Dec 2009 10:26

Moscow press review for December 3, 2009

MOSCOW. Dec 3 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on Dec 3. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.


The Russian Economic Development and Trade Ministry has proposed equalizing the export duties on light and dark oil products starting January 1, 2010, which is two years earlier than was planned before, Alexei Likhachyov, a ministry department head, told Vedomosti. The unified export duty rate may be 58% of the export duty on oil ($217 per tonne since December 1, 2009). This would increase the duty rate for dark oil products (which is currently 38.1% of the oil export duty rate) and reduce that for light oil produces (70.7%). The government commission for protective measures in foreign trade and customs and tariff policy will consider the Economic Development Ministry's proposal next week. Meanwhile, oil companies are not prepared for the reform yet. ('Unified Rate')

The Economic Development Ministry has endorsed documents for tenders to select projects under Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol, which Russia ratified four years ago. This clause enables Russian companies to sell greenhouse emission quotas to foreign partners and invest the money earned this way in energy saving technology. The tender will be held by Sberbank , the operator of carbon credits. Only Russian companies can bid in the tender. ('Tender for Emissions')

The restoration of the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydropower Plant following an accident in August will cost about 40 billion rubles, and its owner, RusHydro hoped for the state's assistance in financing the restoration. However, the company's performance in the first half of 2009 according to international financial reporting standards shows that it could cope with the problem itself, VTB Capital analyst Mikhail Rasstrigin says. As of June 20, RusHydro had 39.3 billion rubles, which is 58% more than at the beginning of 2009, the report says. The money has been deposited at Sberbank, VTB, and Gazprombank. The company's overall debt is 83.07 billion rubles and its net debt is 43.77 billion rubles, which is less than the company's EBITDA in yearly terms (28.11 billion rubles in the first half of the year). This means that RusHydro can easily borrow more, Rasstrigin says. ('Enough for Hydropower Plant')


Minsk is demanding that Moscow preserve a low price for its natural gas sold to Belarus and agree upon a low markup on gas sales in Belarus in 2010. Experts believe that, considering serious image and financial damage that Gazprom suffered from last year's gas dispute with Ukraine and seeking to preserve transit, the gas monopoly will make some concessions. However, Gazprom itself thinks differently (page 10, 'Belarus Expects Equal Profitability with Russia').

More banks that have undergone rescue procedures during the crisis are continuing to change their owners. Kommersant has learned that Gazenergoprombank may quit a project of rescuing Sobinbank, so following the lead of Alrosa, which rescued KIT Finance , the National Reserve Bank, which rescued Russian Capital, and Nomos Bank , which rescued VEFK. The reasons for Gazenergoprombank's withdrawal from the rescue deal are unique: the bank may acquire a new owner, which may be not interested in implementing its earlier commitments on rescuing problematic assets (page 1, 'Sobinbank to Part with Gazprom').

Alfa Group, which owns nearly 26% in CTC Media Inc., may drop charges against Alexander Rodnyansky, the media holding's former president, whom it earlier accused of working for competitors, and sign an amicable agreement with him if he relinquishes his right to own a stake in CTC Media valued at over $100 million, which he received under an option program. The matter could imply a discount of more than 20% (page 12, 'Alexander Rodnyansky Offered Discount').