Today in Russian Business – May 6, 2008

Vladimir Putin has just signed a law allowing Russia to start restricting foreign investment in key sectors of the economy such as energy and aviation. Investors have complained that the law limits access to more than half of Russia’s economy. The cabinet of Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov has approved a price increase for state monopolies that will almost double electricity, railway and natural gas prices between 2009 and 2011. French retailer Auchan is locked in a dispute over planning permission for its new mall in Moscow, causing it to suffer losses of $1.5 million a day in sales. The ruble rose for a second day against the dollar, rebounding from a two-month low. Food retailer X5 says investors bought almost all of a stock offering worth more than $1 billion. Globaltrans, the freight operator, will try to raise $449 million on the London market as part of a plan to rejuvenate Russia’s “sprawling and antiquated” railways. Evraz Group reportedly wants to acquire 20% of the stock in FerroChina for the current market price of $167 million. Russian Technologies may be seeking control of state properties in Moscow worth more than $150 million. Menora Mivtachim Holdings, an Israeli insurer, and GTC Real Estate will buy land in St. Petersburg worth $74.8 million. Real estate developer Mirax Group has bought a 19th-century townhouse in central London, and plans to turn it into “sumptuous accommodation for wealthy Russians.