Russia’s now 17-year old bid to join the World Trade Organization has apparently gained momentum; the United States has spoken of a ‘new energy’ in negotiations. Vladimir Putin has expressed more caution about the process. IRC Ltd., the iron-ore unit of Russian gold producer, Petropavlovsk Plc, is seeking about $515 million in a Hong Kong IPO. The fact that the company is expected to make a loss this year means it is hardly enticing for investors, the FT suggests. The first Hyundai car assembly plant in Russia has opened in St Petersburg to considerable fanfare. Toyota is apparently contemplating building a second plant in Russia. Prime Minister Putin has expressed his belief that by the end of this year Russia may reach pre-crisis levels of car production, and is encouraging foreign car-makers to purchase local parts. A conflict among shareholders of hypermarket chain Lenta escalated as the company’s chief executive Sergei Yushenko and board chairman Dmitry Kostygin claim that rival chief executive Jan Dunning was guilty of a ‘hostile takeover’. Russia is, according to the Moscow Times, about to become the top European market for sports shoe purveyors Adidas. Teplotekhnik, the company contracted to destroy part of the Khimki forest for the new Moscow-St Petersburg highway, has brought a lawsuit against the environmental activists who attempted to stop its work.