Today in Russian Business – Aug 18, 2008

The Kremlin will reportedly consider plans to privatize 239 state-owned companies. Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev says he wants to buy a small German bank to help support German exports into Russia. Lebedev said Russia’s conflict with Georgia is scaring investors and has caused him to lose money. Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin says that the conflict has wiped $7 billion off the Russian stock market. The Finance Ministry is proposing increasing employers’ payroll tax and raising levies on individuals in order to fund higher pensions. Italian insurance giant Generali and Czech billionaire Petr Kellner have made an informal approach for Oleg Deripaska’s stake in insurer Ingosstrakh. Norwegian telecoms group Telenor will appeal a court decision ordering it to pay $2.8 billion in damages for delaying an acquisition by VimpelCom.