Today in Russian Business – June 12, 2009

Russia’s economy shrunk the most in 15 years in the first quarter after the government’s stimulus spending package failed to have the desired effect.  The investment arm of the World Bank plans to use $200 million to buy stakes in bad-loan-struck Russian banks and become a co-investor in the state.  St Petersburg bank has announced first quarter losses of 62%, which in fact beat forecasts predicting a steeper drop.  Europe’s biggest home improvement retailer Kingfisher plans to make a major investment push into Russia.  Cargo watchdog SGS has said that a fake SGS certificate of quality was used upon a shipment of Russian wheat imported to Egypt, although the chairman of Egyptian Traders Co. has said that the certificate was valid and fears the case is becoming ‘too political’.  Tycoon Alexander Lebedev has declined to comment upon rumors that he is in talks to buy the Independent newspaper.  GlaxoSmithKline, one of the biggest providers of HIV medications, has refused a request by Russia, where 55,000 people take antiviral drugs, to supply the medication at a 15% discount.   The Independent reports on the 40% increase in UK sales of premium vodka in the past two years.