9 Sep 2009 10:57

Moscow press review for September 9, 2009

MOSCOW. Sept 9 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on September 9. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.


The High Court of Justice has ruled that Shalva Chigirinsky must refund Sibir Energy $210 million earlier disinvested from the company. Moreover, this figure could be nearly doubled. The scandal involving unsanctioned payments by Sibir Energy to Chigirinsky's companies broke out in February 2009. In April, Sibir and its two subsidiaries sued Chigirinsky, two companies affiliated with him, i.e. Gradison Consultants and Derbent Management, as well as former Sibir Energy General Director Henry Cameron for about $400 million ('Half Lost').

Thermal power plants in Siberia will increase energy production by 6.5% to 78.741 billion kWt/h in September 2009-March 2010 because of the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydropower Plant accident. These figures are contained in a new fuel and energy balance sheet drawn up by Sistemny Operator and the Power Industry Balance Forecast Agency, a Sistemny Operator source told Vedomosti. Thermal power plants will produce 40.701 billion kWt/h in 2009, which is 6% more than the previous target, and 38.035 billion kWt/h in 2010, 7% more than the target, Sistemny Operator Deputy Chairman Nikolai Shulginov said. The new forecast presumes that Siberian thermal power plants will have 2.7 billion rubles more in earnings and about 200 million rubles in revenues ('Accidental Growth').

A commission led by Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has approved the issuance of government guarantees to the Lebedinsky and Mikhailovsky GOKs, the Oskol Electrometallurgical Combine (OEMK) and Ural Steel, all of them incorporated in Metalloinvest, the company said. The GOKs will get guarantees worth 10 billion rubles each, the OEMK 6.25 billion rubles, and Ural Steel 4.5 billion rubles. The guarantees will serve as collateral on a 61-billion-ruble five-year credit line from VTB , which Metalloinvest secured in the summer. The money will be used to finance Metalloinvest's operations and capital investment ('Metalloinvest Receives Guarantees', see also Kommersant, page 9, 'State Backs Metalloinvest').

Solvay will buy controlling stakes in the Bereznikovsky Sodium Plant and Berchimprom, whose production areas are rented by the sodium plant, from Sodium Group Investment Ltd controlled by Perm-based businessman Valery Zakoptelov, Solvay said in a statement. The deal has been estimated at 160 million euro. Neither Solvay nor Zakoptelov have disclosed the exact size of the stakes being acquired ('Solvay in Perm' see also Kommersant, page 9, 'Solvay Gets Deeper Into Russian Sodium').


According to the Federal Customs Service, Russia's trade surplus with countries outside the CIS reached nearly $10 billion in August 2009, which maintains the current positive account. The Central Bank estimates net capital outflow in July-August 2009 at about $25 billion. Capital inflow on the current account combined with its outflow on capital account is a result of the Central Bank's decision to lift restrictions on increasing the banks' foreign assets since July 1: the 'virtual' outflow does not threaten the ruble exchange rate (page 1, 'Non-Escaping Reserves').

Kommersant has learned that Svyazinvest is launching another regional company to consolidate the state holding's assets in Moscow. A controlling stake in it will belong go Svyazinvest's subsidiary, Centertelecom , and Alexei Goltsov a former general director of the Moscow City Telephone Network , has received an offer to lead it. Svyazinvest will compete for a high-profit market estimated at $4.6 billion, without mobile services taken into account. However, Svyazinvest will have to face bitter competition: its share in the Moscow broadband Internet access market alone is not higher than 5% (page 1, 'Step-Daughters').