3 Aug 2009 10:10

Moscow press review for August 3, 2009

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


In Q1 Gazprom posted a record fall in sales. "The worst quarter in the company's entire history," a company manager notes. Europe had the coldest winter in 10 years, the demand for gas went down only slightly despite the crisis but Gazprom's deliveries to the most lucrative market plummeted 39%. However, there seem to have been a crucial turn in Q2. Exports to Europe are far below the pre-crisis level (even though in June Gazprom Export General Director Alexander Medvedev said that they were returning). There was a slight rise compared to Q1 of 7.6% to 31.3 bcm (there was no such growth before due to the season). ("Returning to Europe," also Kommersant p. 9, "Gazprom increasing Profits")

Nvgres Holding, a JV of OGK-1 and TNK-BP, has suspended the construction of a new unit of the Nizhnevartovsk power plant and notified its contactor - the consortium of Siemens and Enka - that it was severing the contract, two sources close to the JV have said. The contract was signed last January for 19.5 million euro. About 10 million euro have been paid in advance, Vedomosti sources say and it is not clear whether Nvgres will be able to pay them back with part of the work being done. However, the project may change - OGK-1 and TNK-BP think of building two units instead of one (for 800 MWt) in order to commission them one by one as demand revives. ("Contract didn't Work")

On Friday VEB signed a tentative agreement on acquiring 100% in Amurmetall (Komsomolsk-on-Amur), the state corporation announced. This happened in Khabarovsk during the visit of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The state corporation will offer the plant 5 billion rubles for development and the current owners will have the right to buy the shares back. "We don't regard this as nationalization. On the contrary, the owners have the right and possibility to buy the package back from VEB in case of a favorable course of developments and effective operations," Putin said. ("VEB will pour the Steel")

The World Bank, EBRD and EBRR are ready to offer up to $1.7 billion in long-term loans to Ukraine and Naftogaz Ukriany, the European Commission has announced. It is not clear when the money is going to be available - the boards of all the banks have to approve the loans. They are ready to credit reforms, not gas purchases. ("Too Little and for a Different Purpose")


The budget deficit in the amount of 7.5% planned for 2010 is a costly luxury, economists polled by Kommersant say having examined the new indicators of the basic financial law approved last week. They believe that the main risks of the budget pattern lie in greater macroeconomic instability. Foreign loans to finance the deficit in 2010 will be expensive while domestic state loans will aggravate the situation in the corporate sector. (p. 2)

The outflow of private investors from open investment funds has continued for a year already. Last month fund investors withdrew 870.2 million rubles and the total outflow since July last year amounts to almost 16 billion rubles. In these conditions managing companies are forced to change their strategy and offer clients alternative investment products. However, far from all players can do that which will lead to the reduction of the number of market players, experts are warning. (p.1)