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Today in Russian Business – May 12, 2009

The near-bankrupt Amur Shipbuilding Plant, employer to 15,000 people, has been ‘renationalized for a symbolic sum’ and will be heavily subsidized by the state.  Talk of a revival in the Moscow property market has been supported by recent statistics which show an almost two-fold increase in apartment sales.  Apparently rent for office space, however, is decreasing by as much as 60% in comparison with last year, with some spaces advertised for ‘rock-bottom’ prices.  Investment house Fleming Family & Partners is raising an initial $500 million to start up a Russian real estate fund to target housing construction, as building is, at the moment, ‘genuinely cheap’.  Shareholders at MDM Bank and URSA Bank have voted in favor of a merger between the two companies, which will mean the newly created firm will become one of Russia’s ten biggest banks.  Oleg Deripaska’s Transstroi is one of four companies entering a bid to build part of a highway in St. Petersburg.  The New York Times reports that this year Russia has overtaken De Beers as the world’s largest diamond producer, and will therefore determine diamond prices for coming years.