Today in Russian Business

(We are also considering a new daily round up feature of all the best in business news for Russia and the surrounding regions. Bear with us as we work out the kinks! – Editors) 211207corp.jpgToyota Motor; Rosbank; VimpelCom; Bank Rossiya; Sberbank Japanese automaker, Toyota Motor, has opened its first plant in Russia. “We are hoping that one day the plant will produce 200,000 to 300,000 units per year.” The company has also suggested that it could build a second plant in St. Petersburg. French bank Société Générale will exercise a $1.7 billion call option to take a majority stake in Russian rival Rosbank. VimpelCom, Russia’s second-largest mobile-phone company, has agreed to purchase Golden Telecom for about $4.3 billion. The co-owner of Bank Rossiya, Oleg Rudnov, has taken control of Komsomolskaya Pravda. The move is being seen as a concentration of popular media in the hands of Kremlin loyalists in the run-up to the presidential elections. Billionaire Elena Baturina has sold half of her stake in Sberbank. A similar trend in Russian business suggests that liquidity problems are leading the business community to place funds in projects with higher potential yield. Sberbank says that it may decide to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange at the end of the first quarter of 2008. PHOTO: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov and St.Petersburg’s Governor Valentina Matviyenko attend the opening ceremony of a Toyota Motor Corp. plant in St.Petersburg, December 21, 2007. REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Kremlin (RUSSIA)