Russia 100222 Basic Political Developments

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Steel Guru: Crisis protectionism and China hinder Russian companies
Monday, 22 Feb 2010

Russian metallurgists managed to provide full capacities load in 2009 only due to export contracts. Despite the industry showed 13% fall Russia became the world third steel producer in 2009.

Mr Oleg Petropavlovskiy analyst of BrokCreditServis said Western and Eastern Europe, where the decrease amounted 30% averagely suffered most of all. At that some countries decreased steel output by 45% to 50% as compared with 2008. China managed to show 10% growth. Meanwhile export contracts and Russian ruble devaluation helped Russia to overcome small and big market players in whole South East Asia and in China in particular despite the import duties introduction on electrical steel.

He said that Novolipetsk Steel one of the world-largest manufacturers of these products was not very much touched by this since the import duty for its products is rather low and the company can further the supplies to this country.

The experts said although the world leaders several times announced the necessity to reject the protectionism, the number of the bans is growing. Mr Victor Kovshevny CEO of said “Today the number of the bans in the world is ten times as many as for example 20 years ago.”

The survival of the industry is connected to metal products consumption in Russian domestic market and to further development of the industry in China. Mr Kovshevny said “If China can not keep its domestic steel consumption, Chinese steel will rush to global market and Russian metallurgists will loose the advantage they have comparing with other sectors. However, China is ready to Buy Russian semi products.”

The analysts said the competitive ability of Russian metallurgical companies depends on Western investments. But only players, transparent for the investors can attract the assets.

(Sourced from

Bloomberg: Rusal to Increase Aluminum Output as Demand Rebounds (Update2)
By Bloomberg News

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- United Co. Rusal, the world’s biggest aluminum producer, will increase output this year, having seen “the first signs of a recovery” after the global recession. Its shares rose the most since beginning trading.

Production will rise 3 percent this year compared with 2009, the Moscow-based company said today in a statement to the Hong Kong exchange. Output slumped 11 percent to 3.9 million metric tons last year.

Aluminum has gained 66 percent in London in the past 12 months as stimulus spending by the Chinese government spurred demand from automakers and builders. Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., the nation’s biggest producer, said China’s demand may grow 23 percent this year, Citigroup Inc. reported Feb. 1.

“Global demand is healthy, reflected in an increasing amount of Chinese exports of aluminum products,” said Helen Lau, an analyst at OSK Asia Holdings Bhd. “Rusal’s targeted output, even below the 2008 level, reflects a reasonable increase.”

Rusal rose as much as 11 percent and traded 6 percent higher at HK$7.95 at 11:07 a.m. local time. The gain is the biggest since its shares began trading on Jan. 27. The stock has dropped 26 percent from its initial offering price of HK$10.80.

“We are seeing the first signs of a recovery in demand as more countries emerge from recession,” Oleg Deripaska, chief executive officer of Rusal, said in the statement. Orders from European and U.S. clients are rising, it said.

Rusal’s alumina output dropped 36 percent to 7.3 million tons in 2009, from a year earlier, and will rise 7 percent this year, the statement said. Alumina is a semi-finished material used to make aluminum for packaging, window frames and airplanes.

--Xiao Yu. Editors: Andrew Hobbs, Gavin Evans

To contact the reporter on this story: Xiao Yu in Beijing at

Last Updated: February 21, 2010 22:34 EST
AFP: Rusal says aluminium output down 11 percent in 2009

(AFP) – 28 minutes ago

MOSCOW — Russian metals giant Rusal cut its annual aluminium output by 11 percent in 2009 but could increase it this year, the company said in its full year production results Monday.

The world's largest aluminium producer reduced its total aluminium output to 3.9 million tonnes, compared to 4.4 million tonnes in 2008, the report said, calling 2009 "one of the toughest years on record for the global economy."

In the same period, the company slashed its alumina production by 36 percent and bauxite production by 41 percent.

The company predicted an upturn in 2010, saying in a statement that if demand grows as forecast, it plans to produce three percent more aluminium and seven percent more alumina than in 2009.

The economic crisis has left Rusal billions of dollars in debt, which the company has been in complex talks with its creditor banks to restructure.

The heavily-indebted company, whose majority shareholder is Oleg Deripaska, last month listed on the Hong Kong and Paris bourses. It was the first Russian company to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Earlier this month Rusal announced that it had paid Russian and international creditors 2.14 billion dollars from the proceeds of its share listings on the Hong Kong and Paris stock exchanges.

AFP: Ousted Russian investor wants to help finance Saab

(AFP) – 1 day ago

STOCKHOLM — Russian billionaire Vladimir Antonov, forced out of Dutch carmaker Spyker before it bought Saab from General Motors, said in comments published Saturday that he wants to help finance the new company.

"There is unfortunately widespread economic crime in Russia but we don't take part in that, and are rather victims of it," Antonov told Swedish business daily Dagens Industri.

"If GM gives me that possibility, I will gladly invest (in Saab) both as an owner and as a lender," Antonov added, arguing GM was behind his exclusion from the Saab deal.

When Spyker announced its 400-million-dollar purchase of Saab from GM on January 26, it said its CEO Victor Muller would be taking up the whole of Antonov's 30 percent stake in Spyker, without giving a reason.

But on Friday, Antonov said he was taking part in financing the Saab deal despite no longer holding a stake in Spyker, through a loan from his Convers Group company to Muller's Tenaci holding.

"I can definitely confirm that I paid the first part (of the loan), that 25 million dollars were made available to Tenaci by Convers Group. That is totally true," he told Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

On Saturday, the same newspaper quoted Antonov as saying he was open to offering more financing to Saab Spyker, which he said could enter the Russian market with his help.

He also said he wanted a Saab plant in Russia.

"It depends on GM changing its mind and letting me in. If so, we will plan on opening a plant in Russia and starting production."

General Motors announced on January 26 a "binding agreement" to sell its Saab division to Dutch luxury sports car maker Spyker as part of a restructuring of its business to cope with the impact of the global slump on the industry.

Bloomberg: RenCap Hires Merrill’s Sacks to Build African Equities Business

By Vernon Wessels

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Renaissance Capital, the Moscow- based investment bank expanding in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, said it hired Clifford Sacks, the former joint-chief executive officer of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s South African unit, to build an African equities business.

Sacks, who will be based in Johannesburg, will be CEO of the company’s South African business, Quinn Martin, a spokesman for RenCap, said in a mobile-phone interview today.

Last Updated: February 21, 2010 12:17 EST

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