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Reuters: Deripaska seen buying back Strabag stake –paper

11.23.09, 02:44 AM EST

VIENNA, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaksa is expected to exercise an option to buy back a 25 percent stake in Austrian builder Strabag which he had to cede earlier this year, an Austrian newspaper reported on Monday.

Deripaska's stake, partly debt financed when he bought it for around 1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in 2007, was taken over by other shareholders earlier this year, but Deripaska retained an option to buy it back by year end.

Strabag was not immediately available for comment.

Deripaska, who flourished as a commodity trader in the chaos that followed the fall of the Soviet Union, rose to be ranked as Russia's richest man last year with an empire stretching from airports to cement production.

But he has since also sold stakes in Canadian car parts maker Magna International ( MGA - news - people ) and German builder Hochtief as the value of those often debt-funded stake purchases dropped.

Der Standard said a rise in Russian share prices had improved Deripaska's financial standing, enabling him to claw back the Strabag stake.

Based on Friday's closing price, the 25 percent stake was worth 609 million euros. The price at which he would be able to buy it back under his option has not been disclosed.

(Reporting by Boris Groendahl; Editing by David Holmes)

($1=.6697 Euro) Keywords: STRABAG/DERIPASKA

(boris.groendahl@reuters.com; +43 1 53112-258; Reuters Messaging: boris.groendahl.reuters.com@reuters.net)

The Moscow Times: Sberbank, VTB May Face Large Loan Losses

23 November 2009


Sberbank and VTB could post losses on up to 27 percent of their loans, Moody’s ratings agency said, warning the banks against cutting their bad debt provisions.

Under the worst-case scenario, state-run VTB alone would require a recapitalization of about 150 billion rubles ($5.23 billion) to keep its capital adequacy ratio at 10 percent, the international agency said in a report.

“Based on our stress tests, we believe that the expected loss on VTB’s loan book is likely to be around 16 [percent] under our base-case scenario, and 27 [percent] in a worst-case scenario,” it said. The base case should be manageable for VTB and will be absorbed by available capital without breaching the 10 percent minimum regulatory capital adequacy ratio, the agency said.

For Sberbank, losses are estimated at 15.5 percent and 26.5 percent by mid-2010, respectively, under the two scenarios, Yevgeny Tarzimanov, an analyst at Moody’s, said Friday.

The probability of the worst-case scenario is very low — it will only occur if the economy collapses and the ruble devalues significantly, Tarzimanov said. “It is very difficult to estimate the banks’ implied losses as a huge number of loans are being restructured,” he said.

Banks are struggling with losses as bad loans rise as the economy has been hit by the first contraction in a decade.

Moody’s view comes as a contradiction to the most recent forecasts of the Central Bank Chairman Sergei Ignatyev, who believes that the share of nonperforming loans in portfolios could start falling as early as January 2010.

“The trend in asset quality is negative, as Moody’s sees limited signs of economic recovery in Russia,” the agency said.

Banks should refrain from cutting provisions against bad debts, despite the recent signs that the worst of the crisis is over, the Central Bank has said.

Reuters: Russia chief says Renault won't up Avtovaz stake now

Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:50pm IST

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The head of state-owned conglomerate Russian Technologies said on Saturday French car maker Renault might raise its 25 pct stake in troubled Russian partner Avtovaz in future, but won't do so for now.

"They said that they will at least keep their share package," Sergei Chemezov said. "As far as raising their stake goes, it is hardly possible now, but in the future, there is a perspective that they are prepared to increase their stake."

He said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had offered Renault control of Avtovaz, which makes Lada cars and whose sales have collapsed this year amid the economic crisis. The French company had replied that it would "think about it", he added.

"I think (it could happen) around 2013-2014", Chemezov added.

Russian Techologies and Renault currently each hold 25 percent of Avtovaz, which has debts of 59.9 billion roubles ($2.08 billion) and employs 96,000 workers in its headquarters city of Togliatti.

Chemezov added the Russian government had agreed to increase Avtovaz's share capital but did not provide further details.

(Reporting by Denis Pinchuk and Gleb Bryanski; writing by Alfred Kueppers; editing by James Jukwey)

RBC: MTS secures long-term loan from foreign banks


      RBC, 23.11.2009, Moscow 10:31:09.Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has signed agreements with a number of banks on the opening of a credit line worth $1.074bn backed by Sweden's Export Credit Agency EKN, the Russian mobile operator announced on Friday. The company plans to use these funds for the development of mobile networks through purchases of equipment from Ericsson, the world's leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators.

      The annual interest rate on the loan was set at LIBOR plus 1.15 percent, and the money will be extended in two tranches. The first tranche, in the amount of $428.9m, is to be repaid in June 2019, and the second, worth $645.5m, is to be repaid in October 2020.

      MTS President Mikhail Shamolin explained that securing a long-term loan would provide the company with the necessary flexibility in the implementation of its capital investment program aimed at developing its networks with high-quality services to subscribers. He added that MTS's goal was to take advantage of every possibility available on both voice and data markets in order to launch new innovative services.

RIA: Chetra to present tractor equipment in India


Chetra - Industrial Machinery, a Russian specialized auto parts trader, will take part in an international construction technology and equipment exhibition, Excon, to be held in India November 25-29, Chetra said.

Chetra is owned by the Concern Tractor Plants holding.

"New modified models of equipment produced by the concern's specialized enterprises will be presented at the exposition," Chetra said in a statement.

"Despite the global financial crisis, the Tractor Plants Concern keeps creating innovative, modernized and high-technology equipment and expanding its presence in promising, industrially active world regions," it said.

Chetra - Industrial Machinery said it had shipped over 250 items of equipment to India in the past five years, including Chetra pipelayers, Chetra T11 and T20 bulldozers and trail tractors.

Indian companies like Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, Punj Lloyd Ltd, Essar Constructions Ltd, KALPATARU Ltd, Hindustan Constructions Ltd, Jaihind Projects Ltd, KSS India Ltd, Neyveli Lignite Corporation and others use Chetra tractor equipment.

MOSCOW, November 22 (RIA Novosti)

Activity in the Oil and Gas sector (including regulatory)

iStockAnalyst: South Kurils Shelf Rich in Oil, Gas – Scientists

Friday, November 20, 2009 2:53 PM

(Source: Daily News Bulletin; Moscow - English)YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK. Nov 20 (Interfax) - The Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Far Eastern branch has published a study titled, "The geological and geophysical description and potential of the oil and gas bearing reserves capacity of the Middle Kurils curve" (between the island Kunashir and Shikotan, Southern Kurils).

According to the study, "this area contains quite large oil and gas reserves. They could provide the Southern Kurils with necessary fuel and energy for at least 15 years," a spokesperson for the Sakhalin regional committee of international, foreign trade and inter-regional relations told Interfax.

The Middle Kurils curve is estimated to have 1.2-1.6 billion tonnes of fuel equivalent, the Kanashir cave - 56-60 million tonnes of fuel equivalent.

"Given Japan's claims to a part of the southern Kurils Islands, from the political point of view it is time for Russia to study oil and gas reserves in this area," Iliyev said.

(c) 2009 Daily News Bulletin; Moscow - English. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.


Steel Guru: Gazprom and Inter RAO to swap electricity assets

Monday, 23 Nov 2009

Interfax cited Mr Denis Fedorov CEO of Gazprom Energy Holding, which consolidates the Russian electricity assets as saying that Gazprom Group is in negotiations with Inter RAO regarding an exchange of electricity assets.

Mr Fedorov said "We have quite a large portfolio of non-profile assets, this and FGC. Now we are in negotiations with a series of companies, including colleagues from Inter RAO, concerning an exchange of power assets."

He did not clarify the assets that could be exchanged between Gazprom and Inter RAO.

Inter RAO confirmed that negotiations have taken place but the assets in question were not specified.

(Sourced from Interfax)

The Moscow Times: Gazprom May Double Stake in Germany’s VNG

23 November 2009


FRANKFURT — Gazprom aims to double its stake in eastern German gas group VNG in its bid for greater clout in Germany, Gazprom’s country head told a magazine.

“We have been working for almost 20 years to get an appropriate position in VNG. I hope we’ll now succeed,” Gazprom Germania head Hans-Joachim Gornig told German magazine WirtschaftsWoche in an interview. Gazprom currently holds a 5.3 percent stake in VNG, according to VNG’s web site.

Gazprom wants to take over GdF Suez’s 5.3 percent stake in VNG, and in exchange accord GdF a participation in the planned Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea.

“But it is not Gazprom’s decision alone. The other shareholders in the Nord Stream consortium also have to agree,” Gornig said in the magazine’s edition, which was released in advance of publication Monday.

Gazprom is not the only company aiming to gain influence in VNG, however.

The southwestern German power utility EnBW is also seeking a leading role after it bought a 48 percent stake in VNG earlier this year.

Media reports had said there was opposition to EnBW’s leadership bid from municipal and private shareholders, which besides GdF Suez, also includes Wintershall.

AFP: Schalke's relief at sponsorship extension


(AFP) – 1 day ago

BERLIN — Schalke 04 have signed a five-year extension to their sponsorship deal with Russian firm Gazprom worth 100 million euros which looks to have eased the German club's cash problems, it was reported Saturday.

Last month it was revealed the Gelsenkirchen-based club had debts of up to 230 million euros, but the new sponsorship deal with the Russian gas suppliers looks to have safeguarded the Bundesliga side's future.

The current Gazprom deal, which had been due to expire in 2012, will now run until 2017 and is worth up to 130 million euros if Schalke is successful in the Bundesliga and the Champions League.

"We have closed the deal for the next five years," Clemens Toennies, chairman of Schalke's advisory board, told German daily Bild.

"It will improve conditions for us and I explained that on my last trip to Moscow, because this deal will help stabilise the club."

Schalke coach Felix Magath had warned last month they may have to sell their top players in a bid to balance the books, but the new deal looks to have eased those fears.

"This is a very positive signal for the club," admitted Magath, whose side are fourth in the table and play Hanover 96 at Gelsenkirchen's Veltins Arena on Saturday afternoon.
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