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Today in Russian Business – Jan 28, 2011

Hermitage Capital founder Bill Browder has rained on Russia’s investment parade by pointedly raising the issue of the death of company lawyer Sergei Magnitsky at a Davos session with Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.  The latter told the former investor that he hoped foreign attention would be focused on positive developments in Russia.  See here a video interview with Oleg Deripaska in which he suggests that in comparison to South Africa, India, and China, Russia offers relatively acceptable standards of rule of law.  In an interview with Bloomberg, the Rusal head explains why he will not sell the Norlisk Nickel stake, and lambasts the metal miner’s ‘poor management’.  Also from Davos, an interview with Severstal CEO Alexei Mordashov who discusses plans to make the company one of the world’s top five steel makers, and the upcoming IPO of the corporation’s Nord Gold NV unit.  The FT has the details on the London listing.  Pepsi’s landmark purchase of Wimm-Bill-Dann, which will make it the largest snack and beverage company in Russia, has advanced one more step with approval from local antitrust authorities.  Those who made a killing from WBD shares just prior to Pepsi’s acquisition may have something to fear from Russia’s new ‘On Countering the Abuse of Inside Information and Market Manipulation’ law, which is reportedly coming into force today.  Medvedev has a new yacht.