Today in Russian Business – May 18, 2011

Russia’s privatization drive seems to have hit another rocky patch: Siberian Coal Energy Company will apparently postpone its planned initial public offering in London for a second time, which makes it the sixth IPO to be pulled.  Meanwhile the privatization auction for a 25.5% stake in Murmansk Shipping Company has not taken place because no bids were received, the Moscow Times reports.  It would seem that President Medvedev has followed through his complaints about the lethargy of the arms industry by firing several weapons plants chiefs and Defense Ministry officials.  France’s Crocus Technology and Rusnano will spend $125 million building a specialty computer microchip plant in Russia, which will provide a boost for Russia’s hopes of innovation.  Cash-strapped Belarus has apparently accepted the terms of a $3 billion loan offered by the Russia-led group Eurasian Economic Community, which has stipulated that Belarus must begin privatizationThis report suggests that Gazprom in particular has its eye on purchasing a controlling stake in Beltransgaz.