Today in Russian Business – March 12th, 2009

Russia’s central bank is technically ready to re-introduce capital controls, should such a political decision be taken, but Russian legislation still prevents it.  Russian Railways has received its first delivery of equipment for a $7.4 billion transportation link between Sochi and Krasnaya Polyana, but early completion is ‘unlikely’.  In lieu of more ambitious plans, Sberbank has set its sights on acquiring a strong presence in Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus.  Novolipetsk Steel will pay $234 million to private equity firm the Carlyle Group after terminating an accord to buy its steel and tube producer John Maneely.  Steelmaker Severstal has posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $1.2 billion‘[H]ow can the state conduct privatization so that private ownership gives the right motivation to managers while at the same time ensuring the end of the oligarch system’?  Yelena Baturina, Russia’s richest woman, is reportedly seeking over $1.5 billion in state guarantees.  Alfa Group is pursuing Oleg Deripaska for an alleged $1 billion debt.  Vnesheconombank, the state development bank, may buy a 40% stake in Rostelcom.  Vladimir Putin has ruled out setting interest rates below inflation levels, saying it would ‘destroy the economy’.