21 Sep 2009 10:10

Moscow press review for September 21, 2009

MOSCOW. September 21 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on September 21. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.


Bulgaria seems to have changed its mind and decided to scale down its joint energy projects with Russia, including the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant. Russian companies could also get a share in this power plant. "Cooperation between Russia and Bulgaria on all biggest energy projects will continue," Russian energy minister Sergei Shmatko said after Friday talks with Bulgarian minister of economics, energy and tourism Traicho Traikov. As for Belene, "we have agreed to conduct a legal and financial audit," following which "joint approaches" and "a financial model" of the project implementation will be found, the minister said. ("Invitation to Belene")

The NLMK board of directors has decided to allocate 50 billion rubles in seven issues of three-year bonds, the company said. This will include four bond issues worth 5 billion rubles each and three others worth 10 billion rubles each. NLMK is planning to use the money to re-finance its short-term debt and for general corporate purposes, the company said in a press release. NLMK plans to start allocating bonds in the near future, the company said. ("Bonds are in fashion")

The Economic Development Ministry is preparing a post-crisis development program at the government's behest. The document will be ready in two months, said minister Elvira Nabiullina. The key goal of the Russian post-crisis development will be to reduce inflation in order to stimulate the presence of "long" money, Nabiullina said. The latest forecast prepared by the economic development ministry, projects a reduction of the average annual inflation from 12.4% in 2009 to 7.5% in 2012. The government is set to reduce the budget deficit to curb the inflation. The government has the reserves to cut its spending, for instance, the optimization of a budget network in healthcare and education, the minister said. The internal demand must become the locomotive of the economy, Nabiullina said. ("Forget about crisis")


MRSK Holding, which is planning a 20-year $154-billion investment in the reconstruction of networks, has offered to China's Shanghai Kirtun to set up a joint venture and to move the production of network equipment to Russia. The holding company intends to get a control stake in it. Analysts believe that under the current tariff-formation system, the Federal Tariff Service will not put the JV-related costs on the company's tariff. (page 11, "MRSK Holding will produce networks")

Russia must speed up the creation of its national payment system and have a legislative basis before the end of the year. The plan is to create it on the basis of the existing Russian systems to reduce the dependence of the Russian market on foreign players, said the bill's authors led by Minfin and CB. In the absence of a guaranteed state support the leading Russian players on this market are not prepared to become the founders of the nationwide card system. Meanwhile, MasterCard, which expressed such a desire, is not eligible for political reasons. (page 1, "Minfin and CB are looking for card master")

On Friday Russian deputy prime minister and finance minister Alexei Kudrin held a working meeting with fifteen biggest insurance companies. Since the first meeting, in December 2008, some of the proposals have already been implemented: OSAGO (compulsory motor third party liability insurance) coefficients have increased, amendments about subordinate loans have been made. This time companies again spoke about the OSAGO: the finance minister was presented with the scenario of a collapse in compulsory motor insurance in 2010; companies are again asking for a considerable increase of rates. (page 2, "OSAGO admitted to reception ward")

On Friday the government lifted import duties on cargo aircraft weighing over 370 tonnes. This category includes primarily the cargo Boeing-747 aircraft, whose only Russian operator and customer is Volga-Dnepr, a group of companies. Experts said that some of the government's decisions to cancel duties do not solve the systemic problems in the industry, whereas Russian aircraft manufacturers so far are unable to meet the demands of airline companies. (page 11, "Big planes given green corridor").