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By John Helmer, Moscow There are three golden rules for valuing Russian initial public offerings (IPOs) in the international market.

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By John Helmer, Moscow Who would buy a share in a diamond-mining company whose board of directors lacks anyone with the career experience of mining anything; or of managing a public shareholding company; or of selling commodities in a global market? That’s not a question, the answer to which the Russian Finance Ministry cares if […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow When money is at risk, open stock markets generally insist on openness, although there are murky exceptions, especially in Canada. It also turns out that business secrets are much harder to keep in the Russian market than elsewhere. That’s one reason the Russian risk discount is so high: the ability of […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In Mother Goose’s original nursery rhyme, the trio at sea got there by jumping out of a rotten potato. Mother G. also didn’t rate highly their options for surviving at sea. But that’s kids’ stuff. Buying shares in Russian transportation companies – rail, shipping, ports, containers – is a grown-up bet […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In European folklore, will-o’-the-wisps are lambent flames seen flickering over bogs and fens, and known by many different names and stories. Usually explicable as methane igniting, in some Baltic mythologies the will-o’-the-wisp is believed to signal buried treasure. In others, the ignition is believed to be the trick of a mendacious […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow It’s impossible to celebrate independence of oneself. It is possible to take leave of your senses. День России, Russia Day, for which Russians take off today, is one of those cynical inventions for which Boris Yeltsin was responsible. It was on June 12, 1990, when, manipulating his control of the Russian […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In just a few hours this week, Rusal’s share price collapsed as a Bloomberg report confirmed what the stock markets have been suspecting for some time now – one of Rusal’s anchor shareholders might need cash so badly, he wants to sell his shares. According to Bloomberg, the requirement for quick […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Russia’s price watchdog, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), has announced that on its own initiative, it has opened a case against Novolipetsk Metallurgical Combine (NLMK) and its subsidiary, VIZ-Stal, charging that electric steel produced by the two mills has been priced in violation of Article 10 of the Competition Law of […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow When one of the cleverest of international business intelligence agents retires from the secret world to write thrillers for a well-known London publisher, there are bound to be many in Moscow who are curious to know what he chooses to reveal about Russia’s oligarchs, their business practices and personal habits. If […]