Russian News: February 15th, 2008!

RBC, 15.02.2008, Moscow 17:54:55.LUKoil has completed the acquisition of 100-percent stakes in the GRAND and Mega-Oil M retail chains from RussNeft, the Russian oil giant stated in a press release today. The chains comprise 122 gas stations located in Moscow and in the Moscow region, as well as 26 stations in other regions of Russia. The retail chains’ annual sales have been estimated at more than 300,000 tonnes of gasoline, while daily sales in Moscow and in the Moscow region reached 9.6 tonnes. The purchase of the two chains is expected to boost LUKoil’s sales of motor fuel of Euro 3 and Euro 4 standards.

RBC, 15.02.2008, Moscow 16:56:21.Gazprom secured a loan worth $1.635bn from Credit Suisse in January 2008 in order to redeem another loan obtained in September 2007, the Russian gas giant reported in an IFRS-based financial statement for the first nine months of 2007. The new loan was extended at an annual interest rate of 5.25 percent with maturity in 2018. Furthermore, in September 2007, Credit Suisse granted Gazprom another loan worth USD 1.635bn at an annual interest rate of LIBOR plus 0.3 percent with maturity in 2009…..

RBC, 15.02.2008, Moscow 16:37:12.Slightly over two hours before the close of today’s session, the RTS index was down 1.5 percent at 1,994.83 points, while the MICEX index went down 1.96 percent to 1,654.79 points. On the RTS< href="http://www.rbcnews.com/">RBC, 15.02.2008, Moscow 15:20:31.Alexander Potyomkin, President of the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX), and Atsushi Saito, President and CEO of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, have held talks over the prospects for Russian companies to make IPOs on the Japanese market, the Russian exchange’s press office reported today. The parties also discussed the possibility of Japanese investors’ entry on the Russian market. During the meeting, Potyomkin pointed out that foreign traders accounted for roughly 30 percent of MICEX’s trade volume, although the number of Japanese investors was still fairly moderate. MICEX’s current priority is to provide Japanese investors with accurate information on the situation on the Russian stock market, Potyomkin noted.

RBC, 15.02.2008, Moscow 12:59:46.Russia’s total spending on existing nanotechnology programs exceeds RUB 220bn (approx. USD 8.93bn), First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told an economic forum in Krasnoyarsk today. An additional RUB 130bn (approx. USD 5.28bn) was invested in the Russian State Corporation of Nanotechnologies (RCNT), a recently established state-owned company for the promotion of nanotechnology in the country, Medvedev stated. The Deputy PM also pointed out that, while the funds were to be allocated on a competitive basis, the preference would be given to Siberian companies.

RBC, 15.02.2008, Moscow 12:35:30.The ruble is likely to become a stable currency over the next four to five years, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told an economic forum today, commenting on the economic program presented earlier by First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. While Kudrin welcomed Medvedev’s plan to cut taxes in Russia, he doubted the feasibility of the projected development of the country’s road network in light of a simultaneous tax reduction.

RBC, 15.02.2008, Moscow 09:52:11.A national plan for fighting corruption must be developed and implemented as a matter of urgency, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told the “Russia 2008-2020. Growth Management” economic forum in Krasnoyarsk today. He also pointed out that breaking laws should stop being a habit, as a disrespect for law always leads to a lack of respect for other people and failure to comply with people’s own responsibilities.

RBC, 15.02.2008, Krasnoyarsk 09:27:46.Russia has to pass a package of laws to counter corporate raiding, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a forum in Krasnoyarsk today. According to him, it has to be an effective tool to prevent corporate raids.

RBC, 14.02.2008, Moscow 18:37:14.One of the Russian government’s primary goals for the next decade is to ensure the expansion of the country’s middle class and to reduce inequality in the incomes of Russians, President Vladimir Putin told a press conference today. The country’s leader pointed out that the current 15-fold difference in the incomes between the rich and the poor was absolutely intolerable. Putin reiterated that the government needed to take steps to ensure that Russia’s middle class grow to 60-70 percent of the population by 2020.

RBC, 14.02.2008, Moscow 17:33:50.During a press conference in Moscow today, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared his readiness to discuss bilateral relations between Russia and Georgia, including current and pressing issues, with his Georgian counterpart Mikhail Saakashvili. Answering a question about his readiness to discuss acute and touchy issues, particularly the disputed status of such regions as Abkhazia and South Ossetia if Kosovo declares independence, Putin pointed out that Saakashvili and himself always met at all the forums, and that if he should accept an invitation to come on February 22, they would be sure to hold a one-on-one meeting to discuss all such issues.

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