Today in Russian Business

241207corp.jpgBillionaire Suleiman Kerimov is seeking to buy the 7.4% stake in Polyus Gold, Russia’s biggest producer of the metal, jointly held by former partners Mikhail Prokhorov and Vladimir Potanin. As predicted, Oleg Deripaska’s United Company Rusal has won its battle to grab a 25% blocking stake in Norilsk Nickel, the first step toward acquiring control of the company. A full takeover by Rusal of Norilsk would create a $100 billion metals giant. It is being predicted that the Russian stock market will have a strong year in 2008. “The market here should continue to perform even if the economies in Western Europe and the US do not,” said one analyst. Europe’s second-biggest insurer, AXA, has made a “major entry” into Russia with a deal to buy a 36.7% stake in insurer RESO-Garantia for about $1.16 billion. Russia’s largest bank, state-controlled Sberbank, plans to borrow $3 billion to $4 billion on international capital markets in 2008. (PHOTO: A worker climbs inside a 46-meter (151 feet) Christmas tree in the centre of Russia’s Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk December 24, 2007. The artificial Christmas tree is the highest in Russia, local media reported. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin (RUSSIA))