Russian News: March 11th, 2008!

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 15:25:08.Open Investments has placed CLNs worth $99.9m, the investment and development company said in a statement today. The coupon rate has been set at 10.45 percent, and the maturity period is 5 years. The offering was made as part of the global loan program of ING Bank N.V., London.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 15:01:20.Vnukovo International Airport’s passenger traffic surged 43.6 percent to 960,000 people in January-February 2008 compared to the same period a year earlier, the company’s press office reported today. International passenger traffic (to countries outside the CIS and the CIS) amounted to 310,000 people, having climbed 23 percent from the first two months of 2007. The airport’s passenger traffic stood at 486,000 people in February 2008, including international and domestic passenger traffic of 144,000 people (up 59 percent) and 342,000 people (up 54.4 percent), respectively.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 14:33:03.Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are poised to start selling natural gas at the price equal to that in Europe in 2009, Gazprom’s press office reported today. The announcement was made by the chiefs of KazMunaiGas, Uzbekneftegaz, and Turkmengaz during a meeting with the Russian giant’s President Alexei Miller. The executives of these companies explained that their decision was based on national interests and incorporated the countries’ obligations regarding energy supplies.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Cannes 14:05:57.Russia’s Economy Ministry is not planning to change its forecast regarding capital inflow into the country from $40bn-$50bn, Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina told journalists at the property market MIPIM-2008 in Cannes today. According to the Bank of Russia, capital outflow stood at RUB 9bn (approx. USD 377.52m) in January 2008. Nabiullina pointed out that it was too early to make conclusions, adding that the ministry did not expect negative trends. She also stated that oil prices were projected to be high in 2008, and therefore, there were no reasons to change the forecast.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 13:39:10.Slightly over three hours into today’s special dollar trading session for tomorrow deals, the low on deals stood at 23.78 RUB/USD, which is RUB 0.08, or more than 0.3 percent, below the official rate set by the Bank of Russia for March 12. As a result of the dollar’s considerable decline against the ruble, the spread on deals reached RUB 0.08. The current developments on the domestic market can be attributed to the euro’s noticeable appreciation against the dollar on international exchanges. The European currency is now buying nearly USD 1.5430, up form around USD 1.5410 as of 1:10 p.m. Consequently, the dollar has edged down almost 0.15 percent against the euro on the global market over a short period. As a result, commercial bank activity has been consistently high, and the trade volume has already significantly exceeded USD 1.2bn.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Cannes 13:21:50.Russia’s housing market is expected to demonstrate a rapid growth in 2008, Russian Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina said at the opening of Russia’s exhibit at the world’s property market MIPIM-2008 in Cannes today. She pointed out that the construction, real etate, and infrastructure sectors showed the highest increase in 2007 in Russia, noting that the added value of this sector rose 16.4 percent.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 12:58:27.Rostelecom’s Board of Directors has approved the acquisition of a blocking stake in the federal internet provider RTComm.RU from Synterra, the Russian telecommunication service provider’s press office reported today. As a result of the potential deal, Rostelecom’s stake in RTComm.RU is expected to increase from 31.59 to 99.5 percent. The decision was made as part of the company’s business diversification strategy, Chairman of Rostelecom’s Board of Directors Alexander Kiselyov stated.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 12:29:39.Russian President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Dmitry Medvedev will meet with State Duma officials in the Kremlin today, State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov told journalists following this morning’s session. During the meeting, Gryzlov, his deputies, and the leaders of political parties intend to discuss the goals set by Putin during the Federation Council session, such as better state governance, economic innovations, and higher quality of life of Russians, Gryzlov said. He pointed out that heads of State Duma committees had already received a step-by-step plan to attain the goals.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Tbilisi 11:51:24.Georgia’s parliament is poised to make a statement regarding Russia’s unilateral lift of trade, economic, financial, and transportation sanctions against Abkhazia, a source close to the parliament told RBC today. Parliamentary deputies are now discussing the document, which was drafted by the ruling party deputies and the experts of Georgia’s Foreign Ministry. The parliament insists that Russia’s move is unacceptable, and that Georgia regards it as an attempt to annex its territory and destabilize the situation in the region. The matter is to be considered by the OSCE, and Georgia hopes to receive political support from the organization, as well as from the international community, the country’s Foreign Minister David Bakradze told journalists today.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 11:24:08.There was no defined trend at the opening on the Russian stock market today. Within the first few miniutes of trade on MICEX, there was some demand for Gazprom, Norilsk Nickel, LUKoil, and Gazprom Neft, while selling activity was seen in Sberbank, RAO UES, and VTB. The RTS index was down at 2,009 points in early trade.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 10:50:34.CTC Media has signed an agreement on the purchase of DTV Group for $395m from Modern Times Group, Russia’s leading independent television broadcaster said in a statement today. The deal is expected to be completed at the end of the second quarter of 2008 upon the receipt of a number of regulatory approvals, including those from anti-monopoly agencies.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 09:31:14.A seventh Russian-French security cooperation council meeting will be held in Paris today with the participation of the heads the two countries’ Foreign and Defense Ministries. The participants will discuss cooperation between Russia and France within the UN and the Security Council, ensuring security in Europe, cooperation in counteracting international terrorism, and strengthening the regimes of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Also on the agenda are matters of resolving regional crises.

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