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Today in Russian Business – April 20, 2009

According to a Forbes Russia report, Russia’s 100 richest people have lost around $380 billion in the past year.  Oligarch Chalva Tchigirinski will sell $350million of personal assets to pay off debts to Sibir.  Speculation that oil prices will remain buoyant has led the ruble to strenghten to a three-month high.  Gazprom has sold $2.25 billion of bonds, the largest amount from Russia since July.  Toyota Motor Corp is set to suspend activity at its Russian plant for the third time this year.  Billionaire Suleiman Kerimov will increase his stake in Polylus Gold to 37%.  Novolipetsk Steel has increased first quarter production and sales due to renewed demand from China.  Russia has lifted a ban on five US pork processing factories, but has ceased imports from three others.  Farmers are calling upon the government to introduce a 15% tax on imports.  Trade tariffs introduced by Vladimir Putin are severely affecting US agricultural firms in Russia, reports Bloomberg.  Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company has dropped a €150 million steelworks order from Austrian construction company Strabag.  Ketchup-maker Baltimor-holding is not in talks with Unilever to sell a stake to counter debt, but is discussing it with Russian banks.