28 Sep 2009 10:14

Moscow press review for September 28, 2009

MOSCOW. Sept 28 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on September 28. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.


Gazprom will take part in a tender in Iraq in a consortium with the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO). This is going to be the second stage of selling Iraqi subsoil resources: in December Iraq is planning to sell 14 sections grouped in 10 lots with combined reserves of 41 billion barrels of oil and about 740 billion cubic meters of natural gas. TPAO will be competing for six lots alone and in a consortium with Gazprom for four others. The Turkish Energy Ministry and TPAO were unavailable for additional comments on the consortium on Sunday. Meanwhile, representatives of Gazprom and Gazprom Neft refrained from commenting on the issue. ("Gazprom's Turkish Partner")

The accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP will make Vasili Zubakin, acting CEO RusHydro , quit the company. It is not clear yet who is going to head RusHydro after him. The appointment will be unexpected as always because the candidate will be handpicked by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin himself. Andrei Malyshev, deputy head of Rosnano, is one possibility. The position of the head of the country's biggest generating company has been vacant for over a year ever since Vyacheslav Sinyugin left the post in June 2008 to become deputy energy minister. His deputy Zubakin was placed in charge but failed to get rid of the word "acting" in his title. ("Will be Answerable for the Accident")

Metalloinvest shareholders will not be drawing dividends until 2012, its key shareholder Alisher Usmanov has announced. The decision was made at the end of July. Usmanov and his partners Vasili Anisimov (20%) and the Andrei Skoch fund (30%) signed a corresponding agreement. However, they may change their minds, if the correlation between the company's debts and EBITDA improves, Usmanov added. The Metalloinvest representative did not say what this correlation should be. ("With no Dividends")

Sberbank will accumulate 350 billion rubles in reserves by the end of the year which will constitute 10% of the credit portfolio, German Gref, the bank's CEO, has announced. In January-August Sberbank channeled 250.8 billion rubles to reserves which exceeded 8% of the portfolio. As at September 1 RAS net profit stood at 7.4 billion rubles. Gref promised that profits would continue growing and the margin falling. In 2008 Sberbank's IFRS profits amounted to 97.7 billion rubles and reserves to 202 billion rubles. The state-owned bank has so far managed to keep the provisions for overdue debts at the 2008 level: provisions exceed the volume of overdue debts by 150%. "I'm afraid that provisions should be built up at the same pace. Next year the process will be slower by at least a half," he expected. ("Frozen Profits")

AvtoVAZ plans to halve its investment program for 2010-2012 to 42 billion rubles. Project C implying the development of its own new platform will be suspended. The company is staking on models of the Renault-Nissan alliance. The plans of cutting the investment program were reported by AvtoVAZ Vice President Vitali Vilchik. "We want to get state guarantees for loans which are required for investments in new projects. The figure has contracted by almost a half to 42 billion rubles," he said. In addition to reducing its investment program AvtoVAZ intends to streamline expenses by cutting the personnel among other measures. ("New Survival Plan")


The Finance Ministry has finally decided on the terms of increasing the capitalization of banks through exchanging preferred stocks for state securities. The updated draft of a government resolution cancels the requirement to credit the real sector and reduced the time of handling bank applications for additional capitalization. Even given the easier terms this type of state support could interest only banks in a critical situation, analysts believe. (p. 10, "Preferred Loan Bonds")

The biggest consumers of Russian natural gas in Europe, Germany, Italy and Turkey in the first place, have not been using the minimal amounts stipulated by contracts. As a result the take-or- pay provision applies to Italy's ENI, Germany's E.On, Turkey's Botas and several other companies and they should pay Gazprom $2.8 billion in damages. Turkey has already asked for the suspension of the provision. Italy and Germany do not want to pay either noting that Ukraine has been exempted from the penalty. Gazprom is not planning to make concessions to its partners so far. (p. 1, "Gazprom will get its Due from Europe")

Vimpelcom has bought 7% of the Uzbek cellular operator Unitel for $57.5 million from an unnamed seller to which it sold the same stake for $20 million two years ago. Vimpelcom explained that when it starts working in a new country it usually finds a local partner "to settle issues related to the specifics of local legislation and market regulation." (p. 11, "Vimpelcom paid to the Conductor")