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Business

Dateline
August 22, 2014 14:15
Reuters / Maxim Shemetov
Rosneft to take 30 percent in Norwegian driller
Russia’s biggest oil company Rosneft has agreed to purchase a stake in Norway's North Atlantic Drilling (NADL) through an asset swap, which appears to show businesses remain undeterred by political sanctions. 13
Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann 2 Swiss banks to end 200-yr secrecy and publish financials
Two Geneva-based banks that have kept their finance sheets shrouded in secrecy since 1796 will publish their earnings amid pressure from abroad. 11
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Nobel prize winners: Eurozone recovery is 'dismal failure'
“Stunningly destructive” and “dismal failure” is how Nobel laureates describe growth in the European Union after destructive austerity policies and the euro crisis. 26
Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch Germany blames Ukraine crisis for unexpected slowdown
The sudden contraction of the German economy in the second quarter could be caused by Russian sanctions and the erosion of confidence from the crisis in Ukraine, the German Finance Ministry said on Friday. 51

Business snaps

Russia to proceed with construction of oil terminal in Rotterdam port 

Construction of an oil terminal in the port of Rotterdam, by the Russian Summa group, will be completed despite the objections of some politicians in the Netherlands, ITAR-TASS reported. The project does not fall within the scope of Western sanctions against Russia, local media cited a representative of the mayor’s office as saying. Harbor officials in Rotterdam’s port earlier said the €720 million Russian Shtandart oil terminal deal was on the brink of collapse due to the sanctions. A majority of the Rotterdam municipal council were also reported to have endorsed a boycott on the Russian company.

Germany approves $6.9bn RWE unit sale to Russian investor 

Germany’s economy ministry on Friday approved the sale of utility RWE’s oil and gas unit DEA to a Russian investor, despite tensions over the Ukraine crisis. The go-ahead removes the biggest hurdle for the 5.1 billion euro ($6.9 billion) sale as RWE is struggling to reduce a debt burden of more than 30 billion euro, Reuters said. The deal allows Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman and co-investors to get stakes in about 190 oil and gas licenses or concessions in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

China’s Lifan car maker to build $150mn production facility in Russia 

China’s Lifan car manufacturer will invest $150 million to build a production facility in central Russia’s Kaluga region, ITAR-TASS said. “The company will manufacture several thousand cars a year with potential to increase to 100,000,” the Beijing Qingnian Bao newspaper reported on Friday. Lifan is cooperating with Russia’s first private automaker, Derways, in Cherkessk, North Caucasus which assembles Breez, Solano, Smily and X60, all Chinese models.

India bans alcohol at popular tourist destination 

Authorities in the southern Indian state of Kerala have announced a ban on alcohol to tackle a growing abuse problem in the popular tourist destination, AFP state. The state government unveiled a plan to ban its sale and consumption within 10 years, warning that alcohol abuse is becoming a danger to society. No new licenses to sell alcohol will be granted, while many of the state's 720 bars and restaurants will not have their licenses renewed. Only five-star hotels will be granted licenses starting next year.

Independent experts to test Jack Daniel’s whiskey in Russia 

Official representatives of the US liqueur Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey brand will reportedly ask independent experts to test their production. Russia’s consumer rights protection agency, Rospotrebnadzor in the Sverdlovsk Region, found a chemical agent in a consignment of whiskey capable of causing allergies and functional changes in the nervous system, RIA Novosti said. The final results of laboratory tests have revealed the presence of benzyl ether of benzoic acid, which is “widely used as an acaricidal [anti-mite] agent,” the watchdog said on Thursday.

Russia’s space agency plans to create robots for mining operations on moon 

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, is planning to create robots for extraction of mineral resources on the moon, Lenta.ru reported. The proposals are part of the draft federal space program for 2016-2025. Technical evaluation for the complex of robotic means should be ready by 2025, according to the program. By 2023, Roscosmos expects to have projects for the construction of a permanent lunar base, and a year later for a means to service its infrastructure facilities.

Russian airlines ask govt for urgent support, as in 2009 

Russia’s largest air carriers have asked the government for an urgent support like the one they received in 2009, ITAR-TASS said, citing the federal air transport agency Rosaviatsiya. It cited “a considerable surge in the prices of jet kerosene in some Russian airports.” In June-August 2014 the price of 1 ton of jet kerosene at 30 Russian airports went by 6-7 percent on the average. “Groundless policies by fuel providers undermine the normal business of air carriers, in the first place, those already under western sanctions,” the agency said. This could cause further fuel and ticket price rises.

Reuters / Arnd Wiegmann Serbia ready to start dairy deliveries to Russia in 2-3 weeks
Serbia said it’s ready to increase exports to Russia of dairy products, primarily cheese, in the next two or three weeks, adding to the list of countries providing substitutes for embargoed goods from the West. 72
People stand in front of a building damaged by, what locals say, was recent shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Donetsk, August 20, 2014 (Reuters / Maxim Shemetov) War in east Ukraine to leave economy in ashes. Who will pay for recovery?
The turmoil in eastern Ukraine has devastated the economy, putting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other Western backers under pressure to save the sinking financial wreck. 92
AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm Bank of America agrees to record $17bn settlement over mortgage fraud
America’s second largest lender has reached a $16.65 billion settlement with US federal authorities for selling toxic mortgages misleading investors, the Justice Department said Thursday. 121
Ryszard Czarnecki (Image from wikipedia.org) ​Polish MEP urges Europe to stop Russian ruble trading
To make sanctions against Russia efficient, a Polish MEP said they need to be “preventive, prophylactic sanctions,” rather than reactive. Ryszard Czarnecki represents one of the countries hardest hit in the “sanctions war” between Russia and the West. 154
Reuters / Bruno Domingos ‘Zero effect’, if EU asks to stop trade with Russia – Brazil
Brazil has not received a request from the EU to halt increasing exports to Russia, but if it does, Brasilia wouldn’t care, Ambassador Antonio Jose Vallim Guerreiro told a news conference in Moscow Thursday. 56
Reuters / Ints Kalnins Carlsberg shrinks the size of its beer bottles in line with Russian market
Carlsberg, the biggest brewer in Russia, plans to put less beer in bottles and reduce the size of some products in order to avoid increasing prices in Russia, where the beer market is shrinking. 10

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