Today in Russian Business – May 19, 2008

Steel producer Severstal is set to issue $1.5 billion in Eurobonds, which it could invest in a purchase of US steelmaker Esmark. It is also reportedly buying WCI Steel, another American asset, for $140 million. “Siberia, where Russians waited in long lines to buy food with ration cards not long ago, is the improbable epicenter of a huge mall boom.” Silver miner Polymetal confirmed its main owner, Suleiman Kerimov, was in talks with “variety of possible counterparties” to sell its stake in the company. Helicopter maker AgustaWestland, owned by Italy’s Finmeccanica, has signed a contract worth $696.5 million, valid until 2012, with Russia’a Oboronprom investment group. At the beginning of the year, Russia reportedly held more than $100 billion of US mortgage bonds. The SuperJet, Russia’s first post-Soviet passenger airplane, has completed its maiden flight. A reinsurance row with Ukraine will cause Russian insurers to lose out on a $60 million market. Russia’s consumer rights watchdog could ban the processing of frozen meat into sausages, hams, and other products, and producers fear this may cut imports and damage the industry.