Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow The November 15 announcement by Megafon, the telephone property of Alisher Usmanov and Andrei Skoch, reveals a discount on last month’s valuation targets of up to 20%, depending on how the assets for sale are counted. To attract buyers for shares at bargain-basement prices, the company is promising to pay out […]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow The rising cost line in the latest loss-making financial report of United Company Rusal, the Russian state aluminium monopoly, is under investigation as Rusal’s Latvian bank operations are probed, as well as tax payments in Cyprus. The evidence is being gathered in Cyprus; and by lawyers in London and New York, […]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow The value difference and profit opportunity between a genuine piece of art and a fake are so large, there’s no deterring entrepreneurial forgers. Until now, the cleverest schemes have, ethnically speaking, been the specialty of Englishmen, Americans, and well-known art auction houses, museum curators and experts in connoisseurship. That last term […]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow The Fitch ratings agency has issued a downgrade for Sovcomflot, the state-owned tanker group, claiming the failure of the company to privatize and sell shares, planned for this year, is weakening its ability to cover its current debts, as revenues remain under pressure from poor freight rates. But the debt picture […]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow Novolipetsk Metallurgical Combine (NLMK), owned by Vladimir Lisin, has done something that no Russian steelmaker is on record as doing in the current downturn for steel production, sales, and profits; nor in the downturns which have preceded – 1991-93, 1998-99 and 2008-09. It is negotiating with steelworkers and their unions before […]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow Roman Abramovich was recently able to bamboozle a British judge with no experience of Russia, when the credibility standard was set by Boris Berezovsky. But can his winsome personality persuade President Vladimir Putin and energy chief Igor Sechin that Russia badly needs to acquire an Australian company that has adapted Soviet […]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow The result of the US presidential election, giving Barack Obama victory in both the popular vote and an even bigger one in the Electoral College vote by state, shows that one traditional rule of thumb still applies — incumbents must be down by a 5% margin in the polls at the […]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow It’s more serious than a case of when the cat’s away, the mice will play. Arguments over Igor Sechin’s appointment to run the country delayed the announcement of Dmitry Medvedev’s government for several weeks in May. Now that Sechin’s at Rosneft in charge of constructing the most powerful energy-producing and trading […]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow It happened at the same time in February, when the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was rehearsing members of the Pussy Riot group, recording voice-over of a script against then presidential candidate Vladimir Putin , and fabricating a performance in Christ the Saviour Cathedral for which two members of the group are […]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow If Russia’s leading oil trader Gunvor can lose its allocations of crude oil from Rosneft and Surgutneftegas in a flash, and Novatek almost a third of its domestic gas sales in another instant, then Gennady Timchenko, a control shareholder of both companies, has some explaining to do in public. That is, […]