RF corporative sector increases expenditures in 2010 by 16%

MOSCOW, August 1 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s corporative sector increased its expenditures in 2010 on information and telecommunication (ICT) products and services. According to a rating prepared by TASS-Telecom the expenditures increased by 16 percent – – up to 511.8 billion roubles.

According to analysts, 44 percent of the corporative market belongs to the regions of the Central Federal District, and the share of the Eastern region, on the contrary, amounts to only 4.2 percent. “The biggest growth of expenditures on ICT products and services is recorded in the Leningrad, Sakhalin and Yaroslavl Regions,” the rating notes. The growth in these regions exceeded 30 percent. The expenditures grew least of all in Buryatia, Yakutia and the Orenburg Region – – less than one percent.

“The biggest growth of ICT expenditures is recorded in the regions with sharply increased over the last two years number of major and medium enterprises,” analysts note. In particular, the Leningrad, Yaroslavl and Sakhalin Regions are among such regions. At the same time, as the authors of the rating write, there are actually no regions where enterprises reduced ICT general expenditures.

As a result, Moscow and the Moscow Region, Saint Petersburg, the Tyumen Region and the Krasnodar Territory entered the five of regions with the biggest ICT expenditures. In these regions, ICT expenditures amounted to 18-156.4 billion roubles.

The biggest share of the total volume of consumption of ICT products and services, according to the rating, belongs to financial organizations (16 percent), in particular, commercial and state banks, financial, investment and brokers companies, insurance and licence companies, as well as telecommunication companies of all directions of activities (13 percent). “The demand of the financial and telecommunication sector will remain to be the main driver of an aggregate growth of the market of corporative ICT expenditures,” TASS- Telecom analysts believe. They estimate an annual growth of the volume of such expenditures in the financial and telecommunication sectors at the level of 20-25 percent. “The state sector will compete with them to a certain degree at the expense of realizing the project Electronic Government,” analytics forecast.

The full text of the rating is available on the site tasstelecom.ru.


LUKOIL seeks to restart oil refinery in Bulgaria soon

MOSCOW, August 1 (Itar-Tass) — LUKOIL does all possible to restart the refinery of LUKOIL Neftechim in Bulgaria’s Burgas as soon as possible. The refinery was stopped on Saturday, a source from the Russian oil company told Tass on Monday.

“We take all possible measures to restart the enterprise as soon as possible,” the source stressed refusing to discuss in detail the moves done towards that. “Work continues and we will, in particular, try to speed up the installment of measuring gargets at the plant,” he noted.

Bulgarian customs sealed warehouses of LUKOIL Bulgaria on July 27 under the pretext that the company did not fulfill the demand for installing remote control sensors. That caused the revocation of the license and the suspended operation of the refinery.

It was said that within two to three months after the removal of revealed violations, LUKOIL could get its license back.

LUKOIL Bulgaria will not get back its license until it fulfils all legal requirements on the installment of controlling devices, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said.

“No exceptions can be made for LUKOIL,” he said. “On the contrary, we expect from them explanations why a year was not enough for them to comply with requirements of law,” he added.

Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said rather categorically that the stoppage of the oil refinery would not entail problems, in particular with the fuelling of planes. In reply to the query why a promised meeting of company representatives with Bulgarian government officials had failed, Djankov said “because they have nothing to say to us”.

LUKOIL has not violated any laws in Bulgaria. There were either no violations at the plant, but it will be stopped, the head of LUKOIL Bulgaria, Valentin Zlatev, said. Zlatev said on Friday that the company would appeal in the court the decision of the customs authorities to revoke the license and close the warehouses of the company,

According to him, over the past ten years LUKOIL has paid to the state over ten billion euros in taxes, 2.35 billion euros in direct investments, and thousands of local residents have been employed by the company.

It is known that in order to supply the country with fuel, the Bulgarian government will use state reserves, from which 1,800 tons have already been withdrawn. According to experts, this will be enough for several months. Besides, talks have started on fuel supplies from Greece and Romania, where LUKOIL also has oil refineries.


Superjet-100 airliner business version to be created


MOSCOW, August 1 (Itar-Tass) — The Sukhoi Superjet-100 aircraft family will replenished with the airliner’s business version public relations director of the Sukhoi company Olga Kayukova told Itar-Tass on Monday.

“The development of a new business version of the regional passenger airliner Superjet-100 has been entrusted to Superjet International, a joint venture of Alenia Aeronautika and Sukhoi,” Kayukova explained. “The new version will be offered in three different configurations: VIP, corporate and government. The installation of additional fuel tanks in the cargo compartment of the aircraft will increase its flight range to nearly 7,960 km, which is more than double the figure for the baseline Superjet version (3,048 km). This will make it possible to carry passengers non-stop on many routes, for example, from Paris to New York.”

Certification of the new version of the aircraft is scheduled for early 2014, shortly after the first deliveries of this model to customers are expected.

According to earlier reports, the business version of the airliner was presented in June at the Paris air show Le Bourget. The price of the baseline design of Sukhoi Business Jet in the will be approximately 50 million US dollars. However, the cost of the aircraft will largely depend on the options ordered. The company notes that in the next 20 years it plans to sell about 100 of these aircraft.

The SuperJet, the first new Russian passenger plane over the past 20 years, is being created through unprecedentedly broad international cooperation that involves more than 30 major international aerospace companies, system and component suppliers.

Sukhoi SuperJet-100 integrates the world’s best industry practices and solutions. All aircraft will be certified in accordance with both Russian and international requirements. SSJ100’s technical and operational performance make the product fully marketable and capable of taking a solid share in the highly competitive global market. Thus, Sukhoi expects to sell 800 aircraft until the year 2024, while the global demand for the aircraft of this class totals 5,400. So far the company had secured 73 solid orders for the aircraft.

The SuperJet-100 was formerly referred to as the Russian Regional Jet, or “Sukhoi RRJ.” The name was changed on 17 July 2006. The aircraft will be equipped with two Saturn/SNECMA PowerJet SaM146 turbofans.

The Superjet-100 is intended to compete against the Antonov An-148, Embraer E-Jets and the Bombardier CSeries programs. Sukhoi CEO Mikhail Pogosyan claims the SSJ will have 10-15 percent lower operation costs than its Embraer or Bombardier counterparts and its wider cabin will offer more comfort; at the catalogue price of 27.8 million dollars, it should also be cheaper by 18-22 percent. On the other hand, both Embraer and Bombardier offer much more comprehensive after-sales and maintenance network.

SuperJet-100 will in the future provide the basis for a whole family of planes, including transport and special purpose planes. However now the main goal is the certification of the plane and serial production of 60-70 planes annually.

The project is implemented by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company created in 2000. Experts say that the SuperJet-100 project will secure Russia’s leadership on the market of regional planes. Sukhoi Civil Aircraft is a subsidiary of the famous Sukhoi combat aircraft manufacturer. It was created to implement the latter’s civilian projects. The chief task of the company is to develop a regional Superjet-100 plane that will replace Tu-134 liners that are now in use.

The Sukhoi SuperJet-100 family consists of two types of aircraft of basic and increased flying ranges with the carrying capacity of 75 and 95 passengers respectively. The company is trying to make the two types of plane as universal as possible in order to increase the number of potential buyers. The design of the plane meets the requirements applicable in Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the West. The Sukhoi SuperJet-100 plane has been designed by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft. Its shareholders are Sukhoi with 75 percent and World’s Wing SA with 25 percent of shares.

On 21 April 2011 the first commercial flight of Sukhoi Superjet-100 (SN 95007) by Armavia airline landed at Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow at 4.45 AM MSK (00.45 GMT), carrying 90 passengers from Zvartnots International Airport, Yerevan. The flight took about 2 hours and 55 minutes. Armavia used the Airbus A319 on its Yerevan to Moscow (SVO) route, but is now switching to Superjet-100.

President of United Aircraft Corporation and General Director of Sukhoi Mikhail Pogosyan hailed the event as a key milestone for the Superjet-100 project, saying that it opened “a new stage of the programme — the beginning of commercial operation and full-scale serial production.” The aircraft was put into commercial operation within unprecedentedly short time after delivery. For the first week of service SSJ-100 has accumulated 24 flights, flying to Moscow, Athens, Donetsk, Aleppo, Tehran, Tel–Aviv and Astrakhan. On May 1 Superjet made first regular flight to Venice (2,800 km, approx 3 hours and 45 minutes flight).


GM-Avtovaz begins manufacturing cars with safety package


SAMARA, August 1 (Itar-Tass) — The Togliatti-based plant GM-AvtoVAZ on Monday raised prices and restarted its assembly after two weeks of summer vacations. It has started the production of Chevrolet Niva cars with safety package.

The company’s press-service reported on Monday that from August 1 GM-AvtoVAZ has started to manufacture automobiles Chevrolet Niva GLS version and GLC, equipped with ABS of Bosch and airbags of TRW.

According to the press service, effective August 1st of 2011 GM-AVTOVAZ launches production of Chevrolet NIVA equipped with ABS (anti-locking brake system) produced by Bosch and airbags produced by TRW for GLS and GLC versions. ICV (in-country validation) tests have been carried out successfully in Russia, Sweden, Germany and Spain. Information about start of production of LC with Safety package as an option will be provided later.

Effective August 01st of 2011 retail prices on modified Chevrolet NIVA GLS and GLC will be increased by 25,000 roubles, while retail prices on Chevrolet NIVA L and LC will be increased by 5,000 roubles.

So, the recommended retail price for Chevrolet NIVA L will be 439,000 roubles, LC — 468,000 roubles, GLS with the safety package — 508,000 roubles, GLC with the safety package — 535,000 roubles.

Price increase is due to introduction of the safety package, as well as price increase on components and growth of the operating costs, the company said in the release.

CJSC GM-AVTOVAZ started its existence from the 27th of June in 2001 when the general framework agreement was signed by representatives of General Motors, AVTOVAZ and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Joint Venture was set up at the foundation meeting on the 30th of July in 2001 and was registered in Russian Ministry of Justice on the 2nd of August in 2001, according to the company website.

First employees were recruited on the 27th of August in 2001 and the excavation works at the site started in October.

The shareholders contributed capital is $238.2 million: General Motors – $99.1 million by cash and equipment, 41,61%; AVTOVAZ – $99.1 million by intellectual property (patents and trade mark on Niva 2121), buildings, etc., 41,61%; European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) – $40 million in cash, 16,78%, and loan facility for $100 million.

In March 2009 the Company launched a facelifted version of the Chevrolet NIVA. Over 60 engineering changes have been implemented to improve quality of the Chevrolet NIVA.

In May 2010 The Company started production of improved Chevrolet NIVA equipped with drive shafts with constant velocity joints instead propeller shafts and transfer box with dual race bearings for output shafts. Changes introduced allowed not just significantly reducing noise and vibration, but also improving quality, durability and comfort of Chevrolet NIVA.

In 2002 456 vehicles came off the JV’s assembly-line, in 2003 – 25,235, in 2004 – 55,150, in 2005 – 51,810, in 2006 – 47,881, in 2007 – 55,052, in 2008 – 54,654, in 2009 – 23,101 vehicles.

In 2010 a total of 36,996 Chevrolet NIVA vehicles rolled off the line of the JV. 2010 year results are 60,15 % more than in 2009. A total of 348,425 Chevrolet NIVA vehicles were sold since the start of production including 29,507 units to CIS countries (data on 01.01.2011).

Currently 150 dealers provide Chevrolet NIVA sales in the Russian Federation together with 8 dealers and 3 distributors in CIS countries. According to the data of Association of European Business in RF in 2004 -2008 Chevrolet NIVA became the best-selling SUV on the Russian market. And in 2006 it was awarded with the prize ‘Offroader of the Year 2006’ in the category ‘Compact SUV’.


Labour, social pensions increase in Belarus


MINSK, August 1 (Itar-Tass) — Labour and social pensions have increased in Belarus.

Under Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s decree, labour pensions will increase by 13-17 percent depending on individual parameters. The average retirement pension will reach 798,000 Belarusian roubles (at least 160 U.S. dollars).

According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, minimum labour pensions, supplementary pensions and rises in pensions will be revised due to the minimum subsistence level per capita growth up to 442.36 Belarusian roubles (about 89 U.S. dollars).

Social pensions to disabled persons of group I, including to disabled since childhood, increase by 100 percent of the minimum subsistence level budget. Pensions to disabled since childhood of group II increase by 95 percent of the minimum subsistence level budget. Survivors’ pensions and pensions to disabled persons of group II increase by 85 percent. Pensions to disabled persons of group III, including to disabled persons from childhood, increase by 75 percent.

In addition, since November 1 labour pensions will be recalculated for the third time this year. They will increase by 7.9 percent on average due to the size of the average salary in the third quarter of the year.


Reserve Fund’s aggregate amount reaches over RUR 734 as of Aug 1


MOSCOW, August 1 (Itar-Tass) — The aggregate amount the Reserve Fund has reached 734.98 billion roubles as of August 1, the Finance Ministry reported on Monday.

The aggregate amount of the National Welfare Fund is 2.566.04 billion roubles, the ministry said.

The aggregate calculated income from placing funds of the Reserve Fund recalculated in dollars in the Bank of Russia’s foreign currency accounts for the beginning of August was 0.25 billion U.S. dollars, which is equivalent to 6.98 billion roubles. The aggregate calculated income from placing the funds’ resources on Vnesheconombank’s deposits from January to June 2011 was 22.49 billion roubles.

As of July 1 the aggregate amount of the Reserve Fund reached 746.84 billion roubles while the aggregate amount of the National Welfare Fund was 2.6 trillion roubles. Thus, in July the amount of the Reserve Fund decreased by 11.86 billion roubles. The amount of the National Welfare Fund decreased by 33.96 billion roubles, the ministry reported.


Russian govt approves sale of 75 prc minus 2 shares of First Cargo Company


MOSCOW, August 1 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian government has approved the sale of 75 percent minus 2 shares of First Cargo Company.

The shares will be auctioned. According to government Resolution No. 1315-r of July 28, 2011, the bidders can be legal entities registered in Russia but not state-owned corporations and having a stable financial position and experience of operating the railway rolling stock.

“The final minimum selling price of a share will be determined on the basis of an independent valuator’s statement not later than 30 days before the auction,” Russian Railways Company told Itar-Tass on Monday, August 1.

Russian Railways Company CEO Vladimir Yakunin said, “The sale of the controlling interest in First Cargo Company will be a key element of reform in the cargo segment of Russian railways.”

“As a result, the biggest private player in the cargo segment will appear in Russia, and Russian Railways will get considerable funds for its investment programme,” he said.

He believes that the terms of the auction give ones hope that the sector will get a strategic investor “which is interested not only to receive a commercial benefits but also to develop freight railway transportation in Russia”.

Russian Railways said the sale of First Cargo Company shares was scheduled to take place before the end of this year, and the potential buyers would have to obtain the Federal Antimonopoly Service’s approval for their participation in the auction.


Six companies seek to buy First Cargo Company shares


MOSCOW, August 1 (Itar-Tass) —— Six companies has submitted their bids for shares in First Cargo Company to the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS).

The bids were submitted by Skovorodino LLC industrial and transport company and NefteTransServis closed joint stock company for 10 percent minus one voting share; by Sevtechnotrans LLC and New Transportation Company open joint stock company for 100 percent of shares; by Independent Transport Company and Transoil LLC for 75 percent minus 2 voting shares.

Earlier on Monday, August 1, the Russian government has approved the sale of 75 percent minus 2 shares of First Cargo Company.

The shares will be auctioned. According to government Resolution No. 1315-r of July 28, 2011, the bidders can be legal entities registered in Russia but not state-owned corporations and having a stable financial position and experience of operating the railway rolling stock.

“The final minimum selling price of a share will be determined on the basis of an independent valuator’ s statement not later than 30 days before the auction,” Russian Railways Company told Itar-Tass.

Russian Railways Company CEO Vladimir Yakunin said, “The sale of the controlling interest in First Cargo Company will be a key element of reform in the cargo segment of Russian railways.”

“As a result, the biggest private player in the cargo segment will appear in Russia, and Russian Railways will get considerable funds for its investment programme,” he said.

He believes that the terms of the auction give ones hope that the sector will get a strategic investor “which is interested not only to receive a commercial benefits but also to develop freight railway transportation in Russia”.

Russian Railways said the sale of First Cargo Company shares was scheduled to take place before the end of this year, and the potential buyers would have to obtain the Federal Antimonopoly Service’s approval for their participation in the auction.

Russian Railways said earlier that it could make an initial public offering (IPO) of its 100 percent-owned subsidiary First Cargo Company in London.

The Russian government has not decided yet whether to sell a stake in First Cargo Company through the IPO or directly to an investor in Russia, Yakunin said back then.

The government could offer up to 25 percent in First Cargo Company for either of those deals, Yakunin said, adding that the size of the stake had been being discussed and could amount to 10 percent, 15 percent, or 20 percent.

Yakunin said that the company is not planning to sell a 100 percent stake in First Cargo. “To put it mildly, that is not true. Any participant acquiring the company wants Russian Railways to also remain in it,” Yakunin said. A source at Russian Railways said earlier that the company might sell a 100 percent stake.

In January, Transportation Minister Igor Levitin proposed selling 51.75 percent in First Cargo Company sometime in January–June. Yakunin said at the time that Russian Railways could sell the stake for 5.0 billion–6.5 billion roubles.

In late December 2010, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov said that the government had planned to decide in January–March how and when First Cargo Company would be sold.

First Cargo Company, established in July 2007, is Russia’s largest operator of cargo transportation by rail. The main founder and owner of First Cargo Company ordinary shares (100 percent – 1 share) is Russian Railways. The non-commercial organisation Baminvest as a co-founder owns one ordinary share in the company.

First Cargo Company was created in July 2007 and independently began to manage the carriage stock in November of the same year. Currently it owns 235 172 units of rolling stock of various types (66,763 tanks, 125,874 gondolas, 7,016 platforms, 16,545 box carriages and about 707 other carriages). The company’s share of all rolling stock in the Russian Federation is 21percent.

The company seeks to provide the best quality of transportation and logistics services on the market, to be the leader, and to make rail freight transport affordable and attractive for the client.

The company’s net profit in 2010 increased to 19.9 billion roubles from about 4.4 billion roubles in 2009, as calculated under International Financial Reporting Standards. The company attributed the significant growth to an increase in shipments and the improved efficiency of the company’s operations, among other reasons. The company’s revenue rose 44.5 percent on the year to 103.5 billion roubles in 2010.


Putin appoints Donskoi new director-general of Rosgeologiya


MOSCOW, August 1 (Itar-Tass) —— Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appointed Sergei Donskoi as the new director-general of the state corporation Rosgeologiya.

Prior to the appointment, Donskoi was deputy minister of natural resources.

It is not clear as yet who will replace him in this post.

In July, President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree ordering the creation of the state corporation Rosgeologiya and the transfer of shares of 37 state-run enterprises to its authorised capital.

One hundred percent of Rosgeologiya shares will be held by the federal government.

According to Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Trutnev, the reorganisation of the geological service should be completed within two years. “During this time we will not only have to reorganise geological enterprises into joint stock companies and group them, into a holding but also determine a strategy of its development so that it could work effectively for the benefit of the country,” he said.

The minister stressed that Rosgeologiya should become a strong and competitive player both on the Russian and international markets.

It will focus on exploring mineral resources, especially in promising areas, including offshore regions.


Russian rouble can become regional reserve currency – Putin


LAKE SELIGER, Tver region, August 1 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian rouble can become a regional reserve currency, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

“Other reserve currencies should appear in the world and the rouble can become a regional reserve currency. That’s quite possible,” Putin said at a meeting with the participants in the Seliger-2011 youth forum on Monday, August 1.

“We all understand present-day realities and what it will be like depends not on a piece of paper but on the quality of the economy,” he said.

Speaking of the advantages of the rouble, Putin said, “The rouble is quite a stable, reliable and freely convertible currency, unlike the Chinese yuan.”

“We did not restrict capital export even during the 2009 crisis. Yes, we lost a part of our gold and currency reserves, but reputation is more important,” he said.

Some of the settlements with other countries, including Belarus, are already made in roubles. “We made 90 percent of settlements with Belarus by money transfer, and 60-65 percent in cash,” the prime minister said.

In his opinion, the regional role of the Russian rouble would increase as the Common Economic Space becomes effective from next year.

“We are creating the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, and the rouble will fight for its niche in a dignified way,” Putin said.

First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov earlier confirmed Russia’s intention to make the rouble a regional reserve currency in the CIS in the years to come.

“Speaking of the potential reality in the nearest future, it’s the CIS states. If this happens in the CIS, it will be possible to use the rouble as a reserve currency in such countries as China, India and Arab countries. We have all possibilities for that,” he said.

In his opinion, the introduction of the rouble as a regional currency in the CIS will be the first step towards its status as a reserve currency.

He believes that the rouble will be used even more within the Eurasian Economic Community’s fund.

Russian presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich said the Russian rouble would acquire the status of a reserve currency gradually and there is no set schedule for that process.

“There is no schedule for making the rouble a reserve currency. We may have a long-term strategy, and we actually have it,” he said.

He expressed confidence that “the Russian policy will lead to the strengthening and stabilisation of the rouble” but this process will “go gradually”.

“It is impossible to turn the rouble into a reserve currency overnight. It may become a regional reserve currency first and then a full-fledged international one,” he added.

“It would be reasonable to have reserves in other currencies in order to avoid some risks,” Dvorkovich said, adding that the dwindling role of the U.S. dollar “is not an artificial tendency”.

“Diversification of reserve currencies may lead to greater stability of the world financial system,” he said.

“We do not know yet what the consequences of the crisis will be for reserve currencies: There are many risks, and everyone is looking at what is happening in the United States: With the outbreak of the crisis many expected a dramatic fall of the U.S. dollar down to two U.S. dollars for one euro. In fact, volatility is high and the crisis increases it. This in turn increases risks for all market players that use the U.S. dollar for payments,” the aide said.

However Vice Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin believes it is hardly probable that new reserve systems will replace the U.S. dollar in the world in the foreseeable future.

Theoretically, only the yuan could become a new world reserve currency. This may take about ten years, provided the Chinese leaders display political will for that, he said.

“I do not think new big currency alliances will emerge in the near future. I think that if China liberalises its economy and wishes to ensure the convertibility of the yuan, it will be the shortest way. I believe this could take ten years, but after that the yuan will be in demand, and this is the shortest way to the creation of a new world reserve currency,” Kudrin said.


EU releases unemployment statistics


BRUSSELS, August 1 (Itar-Tass) —— The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 9.9 percent in June 2011, unchanged compared with May4. It was 10.2 percent in June 2010. The EU27 unemployment rate was 9.4 percent in June 2011, unchanged compared with May 4. It was 9.7 percent in June 2010.

Eurostat estimates that 22.473 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 15.640 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in June 2011. Compared with May 2011, the number of persons unemployed fell by 38 000 in the EU27 but increased by 18 000 in the euro area. Compared with June 20105, unemployment decreased by 706 000 in the EU27 and by 346 000 in the euro area.

These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.0 percent), the Netherlands (4.1percent) and Luxembourg (4.5 percent), and the highest in Spain (21.0 percent), Lithuania (16.3 percent in the first quarter of 2011) and Latvia (16.2 percent in the first quarter of 2011).

Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate fell in nineteen Member States, increased in seven and remained stable in Luxembourg. The largest falls were observed in Estonia (18.8 percent to 13.8 percent between the first quarters of 2010 and 2011), Latvia (19.9 percent to 16.2 percent between the first quarters of 2010 and 2011) and Hungary (11.3 percent to 9.9 percent). The highest increases were registered in Greece (11.0 percent to 15.0 percent between the first quarters of 2010 and 2011), Bulgaria (10.1percent to 11.4 percent), Cyprus (6.5 percent to 7.6 percent) and Slovenia (7.3 percent to 8.4 percent).

Between June 2010 and June 2011, the unemployment rate for males fell from 10.0percent to 9.6percent in the euro area and from 9.7percent to 9.2 percent in the EU27. The female unemployment rate was unchanged at 10.3 percent in the euro area and decreased from 9.6percent to 9.5percent in the EU27.

In June 2011, the youth unemployment rate (under-25s) was 20.3 percent in the euro area and 20.5 percent in the EU27. In June 2010 it was 20.9 percent and 21.0 percent respectively. The lowest rates were observed in the Netherlands (7.1percent), Austria (8.2 percent) and Germany (9.1percent) and the highest in Spain (45.7percent), Greece (38.5 percent in the first quarter of 2011), Slovakia (33.3 percent) and Lithuania (32.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011).

In June 2011, the unemployment rate was 9.2percent in the USA. In May 2011, it was 4.5 percent in Japan.


Russia’s AvtoVAZ increased car sales in Russia by more than 24% in 2011


MOSCOW, August 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s biggest car manufacturer AvtoVAZ increased its car sales in Russia in January-July 2011 by 24.7 percent against the same period last year, having made 342,058 motor cars, the company reported on Monday.

In July only, AvtoVAZ sold 50,518 cars, of which 4,218 Lada cars were exported. In the seven months of 2011, the company exported a total of 28,632 cars, mostly to CIS countries.

In this period, the company sold a total of 85,416 Lada Kalina models (a growth by 66.3 percent), 80,420 Lada Priora models (up by 13.5 percent), 63,136 classical VAZ 2105/2107 models (down by 8.1 percent), 63,638 Lada Samara models (up by 9.8 percent), and 32,802 Lada 4×4 cars (up by 38.1 percent).

AvtoVAZ is a partner of the Renault-Nissan alliance. By 2020, it is expected to manufacture up to 1.2 million motor vehicles under the brand names Lada, Renault, and Nissan at AvtoVAZ’s facilities.

In 2010, AvtoVAZ sold more than 522,000 cars in Russia.


Russia’s industries to reach pre-crisis level in 2013-2014 – minister


MOSCOW, August 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Most of Russia’s industries will reach the pre-recession level in 2013-2014, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Viktor Khristenko said in his feature published in the Tuesday issue of the RG-Business, a supplement of the Rossiskaya Gazeta daily.

“It is vitally important for us to maintain rhythmical financing of target programs and to begin their implementation in due time,” the feature reads.

According to Khristneko, the ministry of industry and trade is currently integrating all types of expenses under the state programs. The process, in his words, will be over in 2012. “The Ministry of Industry and Trade is forming five such programs: aviation, ship-building, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and a large-scale state program for the development of backward industries,” he said.

The program for the development of the aircraft-building sector aims to help Russia by 2015 be ranked among the world’s top three in the sector, to be among global leaders in the civil segment, among the world’ s top three helicopter makers, and among the world’s five leaders in the engine-building market.

It is also planned to bring the share of Russian manufacturers on the pharmaceutical market to 37 percent by 2015. “And by 2020, Russian manufacturers will account for at least 50 percent of the Russian market of medicines,” Khristenko said.

He also pointed that the development strategy in the automotive industry proved to be successful. In 2010, Russia motor car market grew by 29.9 percent practically reaching the figure of 1.76 million cars. Concurrently, Russian car output almost doubled (1.2 million). “Impressing growth rates are reported this year as well. We are actually returning to the volumes of the pre-recession 2007, although with an utterly new market structure and domestic production,” he said.

In his words, the ministry predicts that a total of 2.7 million cars will be sold in 2011. “According to our estimates, by 2014 we will be Europe’s number one market having exceeded the three million level,” he stressed.


Sofia administrative court suspended revocation of LUKoil Bulgaria license.


SOFIA, August 2 (Itar-Tass) —— The Administrative Court of Sofia on Monday suspended the resolution of the country’s Customs Agency to revoke a license from LUKOil Bulgaria.

According to the court’s press centre, the court ruled that there are enough evidence to prove that the halt of the company’s refinery would inflict “significant or unrecoverable damage” on the company, which has contracts with the Bulgarian Railways and Stolichny Transport Co, and is the only supplier of aircraft fuels.

The court ruling may be challenged at the Supreme Administrative Court withi seven days. A trial on the merits is scheduled for August 31.

In an interview with Bulgaria’s national radio, the head of the Customs Agency, Vanyo Tanov, said his agency would challenge the ruling.

Bulgarian customs sealed warehouses of LUKOIL Bulgaria on July 27 under the pretext that the company did not fulfill the demand for installing remote control sensors. That caused the revocation of the license and the suspension in the operation of the refinery.


Germany’s Siemens, Russia’s Power Machines to set up gas turbine JV


BERLIN, August 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Germany’s Siemens and Russia’s Power Machines plan to set up a joint venture for the production of gas turbines. The would-be joint venture, headquartered in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg, will be launched in the next few months, a spokesman for the German company said on Monday.

Siemens will hold 65 percent of shares in the would-be joint venture and will hand over its stake in Power Machine (25 percent plus one share) to the latter’s majority shareholder, Highstat Limited. The new joint venture will help to better serve the growing market for gas turbines, pump storage power plants, and combined power plants in the CIS, said Siemens Energy Sector CEO said Michael Suess.

“We are investing in building production facilities in Russia for the most state-of-the-art electric power plants,” he said. In his words, the German concern wants to make its contribution in the modernization of the energy sector in the region and concurrently to consolidate its positions.

The joint venture will develop, manufacture and service gas turbines In Russia and other CIS countries.

More than a half of power stations in the CIS are older than 30 and need modernization, Suess noted.

The joint venture is a “qualitatively new stage in strategic partnership” between the two companies, Power Machines said in a press release. “It will use Siemens’ latest designer developments and technologies and Power Machine’s extensive production facilities,” the document said.


Russia’s Krasnodar territory to harvest 11 tons of crops in 2011


KRASNODAR, August 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s southern Krasnodar territory expects to harvest more than 11 million tons of various crops in 2011, a source in the local commission on the harvest results told Itar-Tass on Monday.

According to the source, this year’s harvest is expected to be by two millions more than in 2009, a record-breaking figure.

An overall of 8.560 million tons of cereals and pulses have already been harvested. “The rest three million tons will be accounted for by corn and rice that will also be harvested soon,” the source said.

Rice harvesting will begin in a month. Despite unfavourable weather conditions, specialists forecast a good rice yield. Lands under the crop have been increased by two percent this year. Next year, according to Krasnodar governor Alexander Tkachev, the local farmers want to harvest one million tons of rice.


Germany’s E ON applies to arbitration court to have Gazprom reduce gas price


BERLIN, August 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Germany’s energy concern E.ON has applied to the International Court of Arbitration in a bid to make Russia’s gas monopolist Gazprom reduce gas prices, Kai Krischnak of E.ON Ruhrgas told Itar-Tass on Monday.

“We can confirm that we have applied to the court of arbitration over the term of Gazprom’s gas supplies,” he said. In his words, under contracts with suppliers of raw materials, either of the negotiating sides may apply to court in case price negotiations yield no accord in a certain period of time. “We would like to go into details,” he said and added that despite the move the dialogue between the two companies will be continued until a mutually acceptable agreement is reached.

On Sunday, July 31, the German magazine Focus reported with the reference to the E. ON spokesperson that negotiations between Germany’s E.ON and Russia’s Gazprom on a lower gas price under long-term contracts are about to fail. The magazine reported that E. ON hoped for a lower gas price under long-term contracts linked to the oil price. The gas market has much more cheaper offers, the Focus magazine reported. The German concern hopes to gain a price concession from Gazprom that the Russian gas major has not agreed to. The Focus magazine learnt that E. ON is pondering over a plea to the International Arbitration Court in order to make the Russian company reduce the gas price.

Meanwhile, the DPA news agency reported that E. ON Ruhrgas, which is an E. ON subsidiary, sustains major losses that may reach about one billion euros over lower prices on the gas market.


E ON’s gas price suite not to hamper negotiating process – Gazprom Export


NEW YORK, August 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Germany’s energy concern E.ON has applied to the International Court of Arbitration in a bid to make Russia’ s gas monopolist Gazprom reduce gas prices, deputy director of Gazprom Export Sergei Chelpanov said on Monday.

According to Chelpanov, the fact that E.ON applied to court does not mean an end to the negotiating process. “We proceed from the fact that the search for a solution will be continued,” he stressed.

As a result of long-lasting negotiations between E.ON and Gazprom, the gas pricing formula was changed from January 1, 2010, he recalled. One month later, he went on, E.ON issued another request to revise the price. “The negotiations lasted for more than a year but yielded no agreement,” Chelpanov noted. “Then, our German partners opted for arbitration procedures, which is in line with the contract.”

On Sunday, July 31, the German magazine Focus reported with the reference to the E. ON spokesperson that negotiations between Germany’s E.ON and Russia’s Gazprom on a lower gas price under long-term contracts are about to fail. The magazine reported that E. ON hoped for a lower gas price under long-term contracts linked to the oil price. The gas market has much more cheaper offers, the Focus magazine reported. The German concern hopes to gain a price concession from Gazprom that the Russian gas major has not agreed to. The Focus magazine learnt that E. ON is pondering over a plea to the International Arbitration Court in order to make the Russian company reduce the gas price.

Meanwhile, the DPA news agency reported that E. ON Ruhrgas, which is an E. ON subsidiary, sustains major losses that may reach about one billion euros over lower prices on the gas market.


Tajik FM leaves for visit to Turkmenistan


DUSHANBE, August 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Tajik Foreign Minister Khamrakhon Zarifi has flown to Ashgabat for an undeclared visit on Tuesday.

As head of the information department of the Foreign Ministry said, the foreign minister “on the instruction of Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon will discuss with Turkmenian President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, other officials of the republic a range of primary issues of bilateral relations.”

According to the information of the ministry’s spokesman, “prospects for bilateral cooperation in the sphere of economy and regional security will be discussed at talks.” However, as independent Tajik experts believe, “the main aim of the diplomatic mission of Zarifi in Ashgabat is to try to achieve an increase of supplies of oil products to Tajikistan experiencing their sharp shortage in full swing of harvesting works.

At present, the Tajik market of oil products depends on import supplies from Russia which has already increased export duties on them several times this year, which, in its turn, has caused a price leap in the internal food market, whipping up a growth of inflation.

As Tajik Foreign Minister Khamrakhon Zarifi told a press conference earlier, “the talks on the abolition of export duties are constantly going on, however, their outcome depends on many factors both in Russia and the republic, therefore, unfortunately, there are no progress so far.” That’s why the Tajik authorities, trying to avoid full dependence on the Russian monopolist in the country’s fuel market, are looking for alternative ways, first of all in Turkmenistan.


Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant to make modernised Mi-171A2 helicopter


ULAN-UDE, August 2 (Itar-Tass) — An upgraded helicopter of the Mil family that will be produced at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (U-UAZ) has been officially named Mi-171A2. The press service of the enterprise told Itar-Tass on Tuesday that the “helicopter is being developed at the M. L. Mil Helicopter Plant within the programme approved by the Russian Helicopters holding, and until now it had only code designation Mi-171M.

“The development of the new aircraft is conducted on the basis of the Mi-171A1 helicopter produced by U-UAZ that is one of the most advanced in terms of safety among helicopters of the Mi-8/17 family,” the U-UAZ press-service stressed.

The upgraded helicopter will get a more powerful propulsion system, a carrier system based on composite rotor blades, reinforced transmission, X-shaped tail rotor, an integrated flight control and navigation system (“glass cockpit”) and other novelties. “The aircraft will have a total of over 80 different innovations that will improve the performance characteristics of the helicopter, improve its operation system, reduce the cost of airborne hour,” the U-UAZ press service said.

In November 2010, the Russian Helicopters holding completed the work to determine the technical characteristics of the modernised Mi-171A2 helicopter in the designing of which commercial and state operators of helicopters of the Mi-8/17 type took part. It is planned to complete the experimental design work, testing and certification of the new helicopter by the end of 2013. Serial production of the Mi-171A2 helicopter will be launched at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant in 2014.

The Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, founded in 1939, used to be the leading industrial enterprise in Buryatia. Since its foundation Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant has been one of the most famous series production plants in Russia. Mi-8T, Mi-8AMT, Mi-17 Hip (promoted as the Mi-171) combat/utility helicopters and Su-25 aircraft modifications such as Su-25 UB combat-training aircraft, Su-25UTG trainer in both ground and carrier-based versions are produced here. Recently the plant started series productions of Mi-8 AMTSh helicopter and Su-39 aircraft that meet all requirements for modern close-air support aviation. The new-generation Mi-8AMTSh combat transport helicopter was developed from the Mi-17-1V. It boasts “a new Western navigation system”, improved TV3 117BM engines uprated to 1,397kW (1,874 shp) and a Shturm-V or Igla-V missile system capable of firing both Shturm and Ataka air-to-ground and air-to-air guided missiles. The helicopter can also be configured for medevac, paratroopers and SAR roles. Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant also builds boats and consumer goods. The company seeks foreign partners for joint marketing of its renowned helicopters.

The stock company Ulan-Ude Aviation Manufacturing Plant, created in the course of the Russian privatisation reform, is an heir to the fifty-year-old Ulan-Ude Aviation Industrial Association and is a major aircraft manufacturer in East Siberia. It also produces other articles for production purposes and a wide range of consumer goods, washing machines and furniture sets. The enterprise’s stock company comprises several plants and production associations, having various legal and economic status, and a large engineering complex ensuring the present-day level of solving design-and-technology problems in all kinds of production.

Russian Helicopters is a leading player in the global helicopter industry, the sole Russian designer and manufacturer of helicopters and one of the few companies worldwide with the capability to design, manufacture, service and test modern civilian and military helicopters. Headquartered in Moscow, we operate five helicopter assembly plants, two design bureaus, two components production plants, one overhaul plant and one helicopter service company providing aftermarket services in Russia and abroad. Although Russian Helicopters was established only in 2007, some of the company’s subsidiaries have existed for more than 60 years, according to the company website.

Its key production subsidiaries include Kazan Helicopters, Rostvertol, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, Arsenyev Aviation Company “Progress,” and the Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise. In addition, its Stupino Machine Production Plant and Reduktor-PM produce key components.

The Company has very strong RD capabilities. Its Mil and Kamov design bureaus are ranked amongst the largest and most respected design facilities in the world. The history of the two bureaus is closely intertwined with the lives of the two men after whom they were named, Nikolai Ilyich Kamov and Mikhail Leontyevich Mil, generally considered the fathers of the Russian helicopter industry. Nikolai Kamov, who has been credited with coining the Russian word for helicopter, “vertolyot,” was heavily involved in the theoretical research and production of the autogyro, a predecessor of the helicopter, as early as the 1920s.

With more than 8,500 of the holding’s helicopters currently registered throughout the world, it has a strong position for exploiting the aftermarket services and maintenance of its products through a network of mainly third-party service centres around the world. Its support business in Russia consists of the Helicopter Service Company and the Novosibirsk Aircraft Repairing Plant. The company works with a wide mainly third party network of 37 Russian and 46 international service centres across the world and supplies them with component parts and materials. It is also opening pivot service centres to strengthen its service presence in key growth markets (e.g. India, China, Latin America). modernisation.


Aeroflot’s net profit in Jan-June grows about 2 times


MOSCOW, August 2 (Itar-Tass) —— According to Russian standards of book keeping, net profit of the biggest air company Aeroflot has grown in the first half of 2011 by 1.7 time to reach 6.688 billion roubles.

As a report of the company says, Aeroflot’s net profit in the second quarter of 2011 amounted to 4.601 billion roubles against 2.087 billion roubles in the first quarter. The company explains these indices by a seasonal growth of sales and an increase of the number of passengers. Thus over the fist five months of 2011, Aeroflot airlifted 4.95 million passengers.

The air fleet of Aeroflot consists of long-range planes Boeing 767 (10 pieces), Airbus 330 (10 pieces) and Il-96 (six pieces), medium-range planes Airbus 319, 320 and 321 (15, 46 and 18 accordingly), close-range plane Sukhoi-Superjet-100 (one).


Gazprom Neft completes deal to enter Gulf of Mexico project


HAVANA, August 2 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s Gazprom Neft has completed a deal to join the project in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Cuba in the Gulf of Mexico, the company said in a press release here. A Supplementary Agreement to the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) on four blocks in the EEZ was signed in Havana of July 29, 2011 by Gazprom Neft, the Cuban national company Cubapetroleo and Malaysian national oil company Petronas.

According to the document, Gazprom Neft has become a full-fledged participant in the PSC, getting a 30-percent stake in the project, Petronas reserves 70 percent. In early July, after obtaining the approval of public authorities of Cuba, Gazprom Neft and Petronas signed a Deed of Assignment of the share in the project. The two sides also concluded a Joint Operating Agreement that defines the basic principles of teamwork, procedures and mechanisms for making key decisions. Thus, the Russian company has completed its entry into this major international project.

“This partnership with Petronas will help Gazprom Neft to enforce its competence in the sphere of deep water development and expand its expertise in projects outside of Russia. By 2020 we plan to have about 10 percent of our overall production from overseas projects,” Alexander Dyukov, Chairman of Gazprom Neft Management Board was quoted in the release.

“This is a new word in our cooperation with Cuba in the energy sector, and the participation of Gazprom Neft in the project gives more opportunities for joint work for prospecting and production of energy resources in Cuba’s exclusive zone,” Russian Ambassador to Cuba Mikhail Kamynin said in an interview with Russian journalists. Secretary of the Advisory Commission of Cuban EEZ Manuel Marrero for his part stressed the importance of the presence of “a powerful Russian oil company” in the deepwater area of the EEZ of Cuba.

“We hope that after the first (oil) detection jointly with Petronas Gazprom Neft’s appetite will awaken, and the company will start to discuss with Cubapetroleo activity at new blocks, in the zones that are so far available for foreign companies,” Marrero said, adding that the Malaysian company will begin drilling the first well in the deepwater area of the EEZ in early 2012.

The Cuban authorities opened the EEZ in the Gulf of Mexico in 1999, dividing it into 59 blocks, each of which can be chosen by a foreign investor for exploration and subsequent development of fields. Several foreign companies, including Spanish-Argentine Repsol IPF, Venezuelan Petroleos de Venezuela and Vietnamese PetroVietnam, are currently working there. According to estimates of Cuban experts, EEZ can contain oil deposits totalling some 20 billion barrels.

The PSC provides for exploratory works and in case of commercial discovery of hydrocarbons the production of hydrocarbons in the deepwater blocks No 44, 45, 50 and 51 of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cuba in the Gulf of Mexico. The Production Sharing Contract was signed in 2006 between Petronas and the Government of the Republic of Cuba.

In October 2010, Gazprom Neft and Petronas signed the Farm-out Agreement and the Heads of Joint Operations Agreement. Financing of the project shall be done pro rata of the participating interest of the parties. Based on the results of the first exploration well, the parties will decide on the further steps for the project. Apart from Cuba, Gazprom Neft participates in international exploration and production projects in Iraq, Equatorial Guinea, Venezuela and – through its Serbian affiliate company NIS – in Angola, Romania and Hungary.

Gazprom Neft is the fifth largest oil producing and refining company in Russia. It’s the oil arm of Gazprom, which owns 80 percent of Gazprom Neft’s shares.

Gazprom Neft’s central office is located in Moscow; however, the company is already registered in St. Petersburg where it also has an office. Upon the completion of their new office building, known as Gazprom City in St. Petersburg, Gazprom Neft is going to move its headquarters to Saint Petersburg in the near future. It is currently the largest employer in Omsk and Noyabrsk. Gazprom Neft was created under the name Sibneft in 1995 by Presidential Decree No. 872, issued on 24 August 1995. A government resolution was signed on 29 September, and the State Property Committee on 11 October ordered that the state’s shares in oil producing enterprise Noyabrskneftegas, the Omsk Refinery, exploration enterprise Noyabrskneftegasgeophysica and marketing company Omsknefteprodukt all be transferred to Sibneft. In September 2005, Russia’s largest corporate takeover occurred when Gazprom bought 73 percent of Sibneft’s shares for US$13.1 billion. Later, Sibneft was renamed Gazprom Neft.


Medvedev expects report on work of investment ombudsmen by Oct 1


MOSCOW, August 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian President Dmitry Medvedev requires that a report on the work of ombudsmen for investment in federal districts be presented to him by October 1. The head of state signed on Thursday the decree confirming the status of investment ombudsmen for deputy envoys in federal districts.

At the conference on this matter Medvedev pointed out that the mechanism of the work of investment ombudsmen had proved effective at the federal level. “I signed today the decree that the status of investment ombudsmen should be confirmed for deputy envoys in seven federal districts and for aide to the envoy in the Central Federal District,” the president said.

“You must promptly settle difficulties encountered by investors, establish and remove the causes of these difficulties, particularly systemic obstacles initially inherent in legislation,” Medvedev told investment ombudsmen. “You have every power, so you must address directly, if needed, heads of federal districts, of municipal councils and of districts,” the president said.

“This is very important work, and you must be constantly in control of it,” said the head of state.

“I wait for your report by October 1 as to how this work is organized, and you must refer reports on routine work to the presidential administration and to the Ministry of Economic Development once in every three months,” he said.


Ukraine to produce 2 mln tons of sugar in 2011, export part of it


KIEV, August 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Ukraine expects to produce about 2 million tons of sugar this year, Nikolai Prisyazhnyuk, the minister of the agrarian policy and food, said on Tuesday.

“We expect in 2011 gross sugar beet output of over 16 million tons that will go for the production of 2 million tons of sugar, up by 30 percent on last year. Even without taking into account the remaining quantities, this will fully cover the market’s demand and will create the export potential,” the minister said. He said in the spring of this year sugar beet wa

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