Today in Russian Business – April 22, 2009

The Russian Finance Ministry says that all of the major tax breaks have been introduced and there will be ‘no sensations’ in tax proposals over the next three years.  Rusal claims to have cut costs by $554 million in the first quarter, but workers suggest this is affecting safety and efficiency.  According to Ria Novosti, Rusal has seen a decrease in its primary aluminum output by 7.2% year-on-year in January-March.  Alfa Bank has restructured 5% of its loan portfolio, according to Reuters the figure stands at 15%.  Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works has agreed to restructure car maker Avtovaz’s outstanding debt in a long term cooperation agreement.  Vladimir Yevtushenkov’s Sistema is apparently hoping to bid for control of telecoms giant Svyazinvest.  Sberbank issued 16.5 billion rubles in mortgage loans in the first quarter.  The state bank says it will not need a capital injection until autumn.  By the end of this year Russia hopes to have reconciled $4 billion of commercial debt of the Soviet Union.  Russian consumer confidence in the last six months suffered the worst drop ever recorded in a five-year-old index.