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Business

Dateline
April 22, 2014 14:21
Dmitry Medvedev (RIA Novosti / Sergey Guneev)
Sanctions will make Russia stronger - Medvedev
Western-led sanctions will not deliver a fatal blow to Russia’s economy and may actually bring benefits, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday, adding Russians won’t be caught in the political crossfire in Ukraine. 201
Reuters / Keith Bedford Merrill Lynch unveils $8 million ‘boys club’
The entrance ticket to the new “Pinnacle Club” at Merrill Lynch is now $8 million, as the sum top brokers need to produce in commissions and fees has doubled. The joys of membership include $10,000 in cash and additional benefits, Reuters reports. 7
Pavel Durov (image from wikimedia.org) Ex-CEO of ‘Russian Facebook’: ​‘I’m out of Russia and have no plans to go back’
Pavel Durov the former CEO of the leading Russian social network VKontakte (VK) says he has left Russia for good and now intends to develop a new mobile social network. 32
Enric Duran (image from http://enricduran.cat) ​Spain's 'Robin Hood of the banks' unrepentant after 14 months on the run
The man dubbed "Robin Hood of the banks" who took out over half a million euro worth of bank loans with no intention of repaying them has broken his silence. Activist Enric Duran has been in hiding for more than a year following court cases in Spain. 7

Business snaps

Medvedev: Russia’s GDP to grow at EU’s level in 2014  

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said he expects the growth of the Russian economy at the level the EU economy will grow this year. “The majority of macroeconomic and social indicators are stable or have a positive dynamic,” he told the State Duma on Tuesday. “This year, we expect a positive growth of GDP at the same pace the EU’s economy is growing,” Interfax quoted him as saying.

Russia exported record $15.7bn of weapons in 2013 – Medvedev 

Russia sold $15.74 billion worth of weaponry overseas, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday. Defense industry production increased 13.5 percent last year, he told MPs in the State Duma. The system of state military orders was modernized, he said, adding that its volume increased by 1.6 times. The Russian armed forces have not received so many weapons and equipment for 25 years, he said.

Gazprom buys half of South Stream from Berlin subsidiary 

Russia’s Gazprom approved Tuesday the purchase from its Berlin-based subsidiary of 50 percent of the shares of South Stream Transport, RIA Novosti reported. According to the resolution approved by the Gazprom Board of Directors, Gazprom Germania will sell 205,990 shares of Dutch-based South Stream Transport to the Russian energy giant. South Stream Transport is an international joint venture of Gazprom, Italy’s ENI, France’s EDF and Germany’s Wintershall Holding. The company is in charge of building the undersea portion of the South Stream gas pipeline.

Washington offers Ukraine fresh $50mn aid package – White House 

The US has offered Ukraine a new $50-million aid package to help with economic and political reform, the White House said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The announcement came during a visit to Kiev by Vice-President Joe Biden. Washington also offered an additional $8 million in non-lethal military aid, including radios and vehicles, Biden’s staff said in Kiev.

Gazprom, Turkey mull increase in Blue Stream pipeline’s annual capacity 

Russia’s Gazprom and Turkey will discuss plans to increase the annual capacity of the Blue Stream gas pipeline from 16 billion cubic meters to 19 billion cubic meters, Itar-Tass reported. The task would not require the construction of any additional pipelines, Gazprom said, as it could technically increase the throughput capacity of the pipeline’s underwater section, which runs on the bottom of the Black Sea, by 20 percent to more than 19 billion cubic meters. Turkey, the second-biggest importer of Russian gas (after Germany), received 26.6 billion cubic meters of gas in 2013 overland and via Blue Stream.

General Motors to invest $12bn in China from 2014 to 2017 

US car giant General Motors Corp plans to invest $12 billion in China from 2014 to 2017 and build more plants next year, Reuters reported. The company expects its China sales to expand 8-10 percent this year. “We are investing wisely and accelerating our vehicle development and manufacturing to keep pace with market demand,” said Matt Tsien, president of GM China. GM plans to build five more plants in China next year in efforts to ramp up manufacturing capacity there by 65 percent by 2020 as it competes with rivals in the world’s largest auto market.

Ford Russian plant stops assembly line near St.Petersburg till June 8 

The Ford Sollers plant, a joint venture of Ford Motor Company and Russia’s Sollers in Vsevolozhsk near St. Petersburg, has stopped its assembly line from April 21 through to June 8, ITAR-TASS said. When the assembly line resumes work, the plant will be working a one-shift regime, having fired about 700 workers. The company said the move will help it adjust production to falling demand in the Russian market. Ford Sollers still plans to continue working on the modernized Ford Focus and Ford Mondeo due out in 2015.

Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi Exxon shuts UK pipeline after oil theft
Esso, the UK unit of oil giant Exxon, have closed down an oil pipeline and two suspects have been arrested after thieves tapped into one of the country’s main underground transit routes. More than 30,000 liters of fuel were stolen, according to reports. 11
US Republican Senator Bob Corker.(AFP Photo / Saul Loeb) US lawmakers call on sanctions against Gazprom, Russian banks
Washington is inching closer to imposing a tighter financial grip on Russia. The next round of sanctions could target more banks and the heart of the Russian economy - the energy sector. In sights is Gazprom, Russia’s largest natural gas producer. 78
Reuters / Bobby Yip Putin proposes setting up gambling zone in Crimea
Russian president Vladimir Putin has submitted a draft law to the State Duma to establish a gambling zone in Crimea, the fifth in the Russian Federation. 42
The Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Barents Sea.(RIA Novosti / Igor Podgornyi) ​Arctic crude becomes new Russia's oil blend
Gazprom has unveiled the new Arctic crude blend called ARCO. It comes from the Arctic field in North-West Russia. The oil will cost less than the main Russian export Urals blend, as it’s quality is lower. 25
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) welcomes Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, on April 18, 2014. (AFP Photo)
Shell tells Putin gas project not derailed by Ukraine
Royal Dutch Shell’s new CEO Ben Van Beurden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, signaling Ukraine tension has not affected investment in Russia, and that energy contracts won't be derailed by international politics. 51
Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko ​Renewables seen as Ukraine's road to energy independence from Russia
As a way of becoming less reliant on Russian conventional energy Ukraine is talking to US investors who want to put money into alternative energy like wind and solar. 59

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