2 Dec 2009 10:25

Moscow press review for December 2, 2009

MOSCOW. Dec 2 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on Dec 2. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.


Gazprom Neft's net debt grew by $1.2 billion to $5.46 billion in the first nine months of 2009, and its monetary resources and their equivalents dropped by half, the company said in its report according to US GAAP. Gazprom Neft's capital investments also declined by 28.4% to $1.8 billion, but it spent $2.2 billion on acquisitions (stakes in Serbia's NIS and Sibir Energy), which is 30% more than in the same period in 2008. Gazprom Neft is about to conclude a new deal: it signed a binding protocol with Sweden's Malka Oil on buying its only production subsidiary, STS-Service, for about $118 million ('Buying Everything', see also Kommersant, page 11, 'Gazprom Neft Expanding Extraction').

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which has been hearing a motion against Russia from Yukos shareholders since 2006, ruled on Monday evening that the EU Energy Charter Treaty is applicable to the dispute, GML, the claimant in the dispute, said in a statement. GML accused the Russian government of confiscating the Yukos assets, most of which ultimately went to the hands of the state-run oil company Rosneft , and is claiming $50 billion in compensation. "We understand that the litigation will take years, but it is a matter of principle for us to have the lawyers bring the proceedings to an end," said Mikhail Brudno, a GML co-owner ('Acting Against Charter', see also Kommersant, page 1, 'Investments in Yukos Grow to $100 Billion').

Vedomosti has learned that UC Rusal has finally reached an agreement with all its creditors on restructuring its $7.4 billion debt. The Blue Crest hedge fund was the last to accept the deal's terms. UC Rusal has been negotiating with its foreign creditors on restructuring its loans worth $7.4 billion for nearly a year. The coordinating committee cleared the deal in July, and its 73 members have been analyzing the document since then. The terms of the deal have almost not changed: the loans provided by foreign banks will be restructured for four years with an option to extend this term for three years more, and the banks will hold non-blocking stakes in the Sayansky, Bratsk, and Krasnoyarsk plants as collateral. Russian state-run banks, i.e. Sberbank , VTB , and Gazprombank ($2 billion), and also Mikhail Prokhorov ($2.7 billion) have also agreed to restructure UC Rusal's

debt ('UC Rusal On A Blue Wave').

Vedomosti has learned that Gazprom Media has started an open war against Video International, Russia's leading seller of TV advertising, by accusing it of collusion with TV channels and obstruction of competition. The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) received a letter from Gazprom Media on November 25, FAS spokesperson Irina Kashunina said. The letter in fact looks like a request that the FAS analyze the situation and it does not contain any proof or evidence supporting Gazprom Media's claims. Therefore, the FAS will ask Gazprom Media to provide such and then decide what to do with the letter, Kashunina said ('Video International Accused').


Sberbank has reduced the rates of foreign currency loans by 1.5-5.5 percentage points to a pre-crisis level of 9.5%-15%. Other banks consider this strategy to be too risky and are not prepared to encourage demand for foreign currency loans (page 9, 'Sberbank Fabricates Foreign Currency Risks').

The VTB management has promised its minority shareholders that its shares will cost 0.15 rubles by 2013, which is 130% more than their current value and 10% more than they cost during their IPO in 2007. To achieve this goal, the bank intends to reduce its expenses and the personnel and reach a record high level of profitability (page 10, 'VTB Developing Sense of Indebtedness').

After 15 months of permanent outflow from open mutual investment funds, a net inflow of 1.5 million rubles was recorded in November. Despite the insignificancy of the sum, market players are confident that this marks a reverse trend, as the average yearly yield at open mutual funds has reached 92.62% (page 1, 'Outflow Ends').

Just as Kommersant predicted, Boris Alyoshin, a former president of Avtovaz , has been appointed to head the Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI). The Industry and Trade Ministry is no longer concealing that the institute will serve as the base for "consolidating all the industry's resources", that is, all research institutes having to do with the development of aircraft (page 9, 'Boris Alyoshin to Take Care of Aerodynamics').