Moscow press review for June 16, 2009
MOSCOW. June 16 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on June 16. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.
Gazprom's share on the European gas market decreased to 16% in the first quarter of 2009. It had been 23% in the first quarter of 2008 and further reached 31% last summer, according to the International Energy Agency. Demand for gas in 23 European countries declined by 5% to 183.5 billion cubic meters in January 2009, and Gazprom's supplies to those countries dropped by 35% to 27 billion cubic meters in that period, the IEA said. In absolute figures, demand for gas in Europe declined by 9.9 billion cubic meters, while Gazprom 's supplies dropped by 14.7 billion cubic meters, which means that other suppliers increased their sales by 4.8 billion cubic meters. Norway, Russia's principal competitor on the European gas market, increased its supplies by 11% ('Losing the Market').
TNK-BP will hold talks with the British oil and gas company Regal Petroleum on buying a share in it or merging with it this week, Reuters said citing an unnamed source. The source said the negotiations have been lasting for more than half a year ('TNK-BP: Longing For Abroad').
Mikhail Prokhorov is willing to take control of Norilsk Nickel 's copper fields in the Trans-Baikal area, which were bought at his initiative. Trans-Baikal territory Governor Ravil Geniatulin himself is trying to invite a new "efficient owner" to manage the copper fields. The project is not making progress now because it is being handled by another group of managers different from the fields' previous managers, Prokhorov (the Onexim Group owner) and Maxim Finsky (currently general director of Intergeo, a company incorporated in Onexim). If Intergeo gets the assets, it could propose to Metalloinvest and Russian Technologies that they be merged with the Udokan copper field, another one in the Trans-Baikal territory, a source from Prokhorov's entourage said ('Called To Return').
Russian aircraft manufacturers concluded contracts for 95 new aircraft worth $2.7 billion within the first two days of the international air show in Le Bourget. Hungary's Malev, whose 49% are owned by VEB, ordered 30 new Sukhoi SuperJet (SSJ) planes worth $1 billion on Monday, and the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, the SSJ producer, expects another contract for 20 airliners worth about $600 million on Tuesday. Moreover, Ilyushin Finance Company and Atlant Soyuz, which is to be incorporated in an airline to be controlled by Russian Technologies, may conclude a record contract at Le Bourget on Tuesday. The two companies are expected to sign a pre-contract agreement on 45 new airliners worth $1.2 billion, including 30 Antonov An-148 regional planes and 15 Tupolev Tu-204 medium range planes, said Andrei Lipovetsky of IFC ('Flying Over Paris', see also Kommersant, page 7, 'Russian Planes To Fly Under State Order').
Former General Motors Vice President Bo Anderson may head the GAZ board of directors, GAZ has reported. On Monday, Anderson was appointed a consultant to the GAZ board and an advisor to its principal shareholder, Oleg Deripaska. The automaker's shareholders hope that Anderson may eventually become the board chairman, it said ('Chairman From GM', see also Kommersant, page, 1, 'Gorky Motors').
The mandate of Rosneft's board of directors may expand. Amendments to the company's charter put up for consideration by the shareholders would invest the board with the authority to endorse supplementary issues of up to 25% of Rosneft's stock, which is currently within the shareholders' purview. On Monday, such a stake in Rosneft was valued at $16.32 billion. However, the Rosneft board will only be able to authorize the sale of shares rather than their swap for other assets (page 7, 'Rosneft Directors To Be Entrusted With Best Quarter').
Bank Soyuz, which is currently undergoing restructuring, has spent over $100 million to buy back its Eurobonds. The bondholders demanded their early redemption on the grounds that its owner has changed and its capital adequacy declined. Soyuz agreed only with the first reason (page 8, 'Soyuz Restructures Its Debts')