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Today in Russian Business – Oct 6, 2008

Oleg Deripaska has handed over his $912 million stake in Canadian auto parts maker Magna to creditors. Deripaska’s Basic Element says it sees ‘no bottom’ to the credit-market turmoil and, consequently, has stopped hiring staff. How is Russia’s middle class – which now comprises 20-25% of the country’s population – dealing with the credit crunch? Norilsk Nickel’s profits have been slashed by inflation and falling nickel prices. Iran’s planned anti-aircraft missile deal with Russia has been delayed. Russia denies that it is intending to sell Iran its most advanced missile. Russia’s faltering beer market is affecting sales for InBev and Carlsberg. Georgia has launched a criminal investigation into Russian mobile phone operator MegaFon over a territorial dispute. Russia and North Korea have begun reconstructing a $207 million railroad between Khasan and Rajin. Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin will join the board of state-controlled electricity trader Inter RAO. At the level of individual stocks, says this journalist, Russian business is still looking ‘healthy’.