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ChemChina gets OK for Syngenta deal

SyngentaChemChina has won EU antitrust approval for its $43bn takeover of Swiss pesticide maker Syngenta, paving the way for China’s largest overseas acquisition to date. The EU’s approval is conditional on ChemChina’s agreeing to (more…)

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Turkish Stream #2 gets sign-off

Gazprom and Switzerland’s Allseas are reported to have signed an agreement for the construction of a second, 900km Turkish Stream pipeline running from its Siberian gas fields along the the bed of the Black Sea to Turkey.
The two companies (more…)

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Putin celebrates as Qatar wealth fund and Glencore buy $11bn Rosneft stake

PutinRussian President Vladimir Putin took to the TV airways yesterday to celebrate the news that the commodity trader Glencore and Qatar’s QIA sovereign wealth fund – Glencore’s largest shareholders – had agreed to buy Moscow’s 19.5% stake in the state-run Rosneft oil giant for a figure Putin put at $11bn, boosted by what he described as “the rising trend in oil prices.”
The transaction was so big that Putin specifically asked Sechin to work with the Finance Ministry and central bank to ensure that it did not destabilize the currency market when the proceeds were converted into roubles. The rouble gained against the dollar in late trading after the deal was announced. and shares in Rosneft jumped by 6.4% on the news.
Glencore Chief Executive Officer Ivan GlasenbergPutin haled the surprise deal as the “largest acquisitions in the oil and gas sector in the world in 2016.” It is certainly the biggest foreign investment in Russia since the crisis in Ukraine and comes little more than a year after Glencore Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg had to go cap in hand to his shareholders for a cash injection. Qatar’s involvement also marks a rare venture of an OPEC member into the Russian energy sector.
Putin was joined on air by his long-term ally and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin who thanked the President for his part in brokering the deal which, he said, only “became possible thanks to your personal contribution,…..the negotiated price is in our view the maximum possible with the minimum discount of 5% to market prices.” Financing will be provided by “one of the largest European banks,” he added, without specifying which one.
Putin and UlyukaevThe deal comes at the end of an eventful few weeks for Russia’s privatisation programme which has seen Economy Minister Alexey Ulyukaev dismissed and put under house arrest, accused of taking a bribe to end his objections to Rosneft taking part in the privatisation of Bashneft; and Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev announcing that hundreds of SMEs were likely to put up for sale next year as Moscow scrambles to raise cash to fill its $21bn budget deficit.
The new deal will go a long way to reducing that debt, but with Rosneft and Sechin himself subject to the sanctions imposed by the West after the annexation of Ukraine, Glencore announced that it would be “fully ring-fenced” from exposure to the Russian state company, apart from a 0.54% “indirect equity interest.”
Russia will retain a controlling stake in Rosneft after the deal, while BP owns a further 19.75% stake in the company.

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Russian-EU trade down as Switzerland pushes its way into top three

EU and RussiaRussian-EU trade: The volume of trade flowing from Russia to the EU dropped down to 6% of the incoming total last year, according to figures released by Eurostat this week, pushing Russia out of the bloc’s top three trading partners. It now (more…)

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Swiss banks express interest in advising on Bashneft privatisation

BashneftBashneft privatisation: Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse are interested in advising the Russian government on several privatisations as long as the deals do not violate sanctions, three banking sources told Reuters  this week. Their interest came to light (more…)

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ChemChina bids record $43bn for Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta

SyngentaChina’s chemicals group ChemChina has offered more than $43bn to take over Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta. The Swiss company said it was ‘unanimously recommending the offer to shareholders’ and that the deal would help it further expand in China.
“The transaction (more…)

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Swiss MSC container ship docks in Iran for first time in six years

Shahid Rajaee PortThe Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the world’s second-largest shipping line, has returned to Iran more than six years after one of its container ships last docked in one of the country’s ports, the Director-General of Hormozgan Province’s Ports and Maritime Organization Ebrahim Eidani announced this week. The 9,400 TEU capacity (more…)

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Ineos buys up Fridman’s North Sea fields

Mikhail Fridman

Mikhail Fridman

The Swiss chemical company Ineos has acquired the 11 oil and gas fields in the UK’s North Sea waters that Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman‘s LetterOne investment fund acquired last year through its €5.1bn takeover (more…)

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Edipresse quits Russia over new ownership legislation

Edipresse-KonligaThe Edipresse Group, Swiss-based publishers of over 40 Russian women’s interest and DIY consumer titles and 12 websites, has sold Edipresse-Konliga and quit Russia because of the new legislative restrictions on foreign media ownership, according to a report on its website. 
As from 2016, foreign publishers are prohibited from owning more than 20% in Russian media concerns and, (more…)

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Putin defends Blatter and attacks FIFA arrests as ‘persecution’

Sepp Blatter and Vladimir Putin in Sochi April 2015FIFA arrests: Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Wednesday’s swoop on top FIFA officials in Zurich by the FBI as a “crude breach in the principles in the functioning of international organisations.”
“I don’t doubt a bit that this is a clear attempt to not allow the reelection of Mr. Blatter to the post of FIFA president, and this is a crude breach in the principles in the functioning of international organisations. Unfortunately, our American partners are using such methods to reach their own selfish goals and are doing it illegally, persecuting people,” he told journalists in Moscow.
“We know the pressure that was put on him to prevent the 2018 World Cup taking place in Russia,” he added, likening the events to the hounding of whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.
In a meeting with Putin in Sochi earlier last month, FIFA chief Sepp Blatter had slammed Russia’s critics. “I see that more and more people around the world are taking an interest in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. If politicians are not too happy that we are taking the world cup to Russia, I always say to them, ‘Well, you can stay home, and in Russia we will hold the biggest world cup ever yet’,” Blatter said at the time.

The BRICS Post Read More»

Kazakhstan and Russia drop down IMD competitive rankings

IMD World Competitiveness CentreBoth Kazakhstan and Russia have lost ground in this year’s comparison of 60 leading national economies compiled by the IMD World Competitiveness Centre. (more…)

Interfax Read More»

Thyssen Schachtbau in Russian potash JV with Eurochem

Eurochem Potash MiningThyssen Schachtbau and the Russian mining arm of the Swiss-based Eurochem – one of Europe’s largest fertiliser producers – are joining forces to drill for potash in Saratov and other mines around Volgograd . Earlier this month, the German company was granted permission by Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) to set up a new company to run the operation. Although final terms have not as yet been agreed, (more…)

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Zurich Airport JV to invest $870m in modernisation of Kazakh airports

Airpot Management Group airport network

Airpot Management Group airport network

Zurich Airport JV: The Airport Management Group (AMG), the joint venture established between Kazakhstan’s KTZ Express and Zurich Airport International, is to invest around $870m modernising 11 of the country’s airports over the next five years, its General Director Claude Badan said this week. Over the next three years, prority will be given to the reconstruction of landing strips, passenger terminals and airfield infrastructure of Astana, Petropavlovsk and Kostanai airports, with terminals meeting international standards being built at Kyzylorda, and Shymkent as well as at Astana.“We will be working to develop domestic and international routes from regional airports to destinations in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey,” he said, “and to this end the airports must meet international requirements if passenger and cargo flows are to increase.” AMG was was originally set up to oversee the management and development of the state-owned airports at Astana, Kostanai, Kokshetau, Petropavlovsk, Kyzylorda, and Shymkent, and is now also taking on the running of airports at Aktobe, Atyrau, and Pavlodar, and, eventually Ust-Kamenogorsk and Semei. Times of Central Asia
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Gunvor looks to sell Russian assets as it seeks to limit exposure

Gunvor, one of the world’s top five oil trading houses that was co-funded by Putin ally and sanctions-hit Gennady Timchenko, is looking to cut its exposure to Russia and to raise funds for acquisitions elsewhere in the world. The Swiss-based company is reported to be close to selling its stake in the Yakut coal company Colmar, and is also looking for buyers for some or all of its shares in the Ust-Luga coal and fertiliser terminal, as well as its 50% stake in the Novorossiysk terminal. Interfax    Read More»

Russian EU import ban may call for Swiss solution

Russian EU import ban: It is being reported that EU food exporters are considering smuggling milk meat and vegetables into Russia via Switzerland. As a non EU member state, Switzerland is exempt from Russia’s recent food embargo. RIA Novosti 

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Glencore in line to modernise Tajik Aluminium Company

Tajik Aluminium Company: Glencore, the world’s largest supplier of commodities and rare earth materials, is planning to help with the technological modernisation of the Tajik Aluminum Company (TALCO), it emerged after talks between Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon and Glencore Chairman Andrew Kaplan in Dushanbe on Friday. Glencore and TALCO have been working together since 2007 and the Swiss-based company is now looking to expand its activities in Tajikistan. AKI Press

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Zurich Group pulls out of Russian retail insurance

The Zurich Group has decided to sell its Russian retail insurance arm to the Olma Investment Group for RUB1bn, which represents a $300m loss on the operation. The group intends to continue with its corporate services in Russia. rbc   Read More»

Merida targets Swiss market

Bicycle manufacture Merida-KZ is about to start exporting its Nomad range of bicycles to Switzerland. European authorities have given the bikes the technical all-clear and a pilot batch has already been dispatched. Read More»