Russian News: November 14th, 2008!

Hot News!RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 13:43:59.State Duma deputies have approved in the first reading amendments to the Constitution on the extension of the terms of the president and the lower chamber of parliament. The changes were easily passed by 388 deputies voting for it and 58 against.

RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 12:51:37.Russia is expected to see the creation of a new consultative body to unite the majority of Russia’s television market participants prior to the general transfer to digital broadcasts. The new alliance is most likely to be known as Digital Alliance of Russia and headed by Russian Communications and Mass Media Minister Igor Shchegolev. Eduard Sagalaev, president of the National Association of TV and Radio Broadcasters (NAT), made a statement to this effect today. He pointed out that the alliance would become a place for its members to meet and discuss the development of digital television and radio in Russia. Cable operators, broadcasters, telecommunications operators, producers of television equipment and other market participants are all expected to join the alliance, Sagalaev noted.

RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 12:28:47.Russia and Belarus have agreed on switching to rubles in settlements for oil and gas, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov announced following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the governments of Russia and Belarus on coordinating measures to increase their national economies’ competitiveness. According to Kobyakov, such a transition will be one of the key items in the joint action plan to be prepared by early February 2009. “This will be our contribution to giving the ruble the status of a regional reserve currency,” the official said.

RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 11:56:19.The net profit of GAZ Group under IFRS dropped 14.5 percent to RUB 2.821bn (approx. USD 102m) in the first half of 2008 compared to the same period a year earlier, the company’s unaudited financial statement reads.

RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 11:47:14.President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev will take part in the Russia-EU summit in Nice, France. The EU will be represented by President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, currently holding the EU’s rotating presidency and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso as well as Javier Solana, secretary general of the Council of the European Union and high representative for the common foreign and security policy.

RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 10:38:57.The consolidated net profit of Razgulay Group under IFRS nearly doubled in the first half of 2008 and reached RUB 736m (approx. USD 26.60m), the Russian agricultural holding indicated in its financial statement today. Revenue surged 35 percent to RUB 11.476bn (approx. USD 415m) in January-June 2008 compared to the same period of the previous year. At the same time, gross profit stood at RUB 2.854bn (approx. USD 103m), having increased 85 percent. Pretax profit rose 2.6 times to RUB 1.439bn (approx. USD 52m).

RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 10:25:22.Russia and Belarus signed a memorandum on understanding in which they vowed to coordinate measures to raise the competitive edge of their respective national economies. Under the memorandum signed by Deputy Prime Ministers Alexei Kudrin of Russia and Andrei Kobyakov of Belarus, Russia will grant its partner a loan of $2bn in 2008-2009 for a period of 15 years at the interest rate of LIBOR plus 3 percent. In addition, the parties converged on the first tranche of the loan ($1bn) to be extended within a few days. A respective agreement on the second tranche will be signed as soon as the parties hammer out a joint action plan to improve their competitiveness – tentatively, by the beginning of February 2009. The payment itself is to be made before February 28, 2009.

RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 09:58:45.Russia’s full-year inflation is set to reach 13.5 percent in 2008. The estimate voiced yesterday by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov suggests that the inflation growth rate has been slowing down. Zhukov believes the rate is likely to be below 14 percent.

RBC, 13.11.2008, Cannes 19:43:12.The global economy’s overall losses from the financial crisis amount to $1.5 trillion, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told the 10th round table meeting of Russia-EU industrialists in Cannes, France, on Thursday. Such serious consequences of the financial crisis call for giving serious consideration to the idea of reforming the global financial system, specifically its main institutions: the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the Russian leader believes. He also indicated that Russia was set to pass a package of bills by the end of 2008 to establish an international financial hub in the country.

RBC, 13.11.2008, Moscow 13:53:04.Russia’s federal budget cash surplus stood at RUB 2.75 trillion (approx. USD 100.11bn) in January-October 2008, according to a preliminary budget performance estimate drafted by Russia’s Finance Ministry. Primary surplus ran up to RUB 2,885.5bn (approx. USD 105.04bn).