Israeli-Russian businessman David Sapir has offered to buy joint control of financially strapped El Al Israel Airlines, promising to use his business ties to return Israel’s flag carrier to profitability, Reuters reported. Sapir, whose businesses include infrastructure, telecoms and tourism, has offered to pay $51 million for 190 million new shares in El Al, which is the same amount of shares held by controlling shareholder Knafaim Holdings (KNFM.TA), and a 20% premium to El Al’s closing share price on Tuesday in Tel Aviv.
Russia’s central bank cut its key interest rate to a record low as the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the economy into a deep recession, forcing President Vladimir Putin this week to delay a flagship $360 billion national development plan by six years. The bank on Friday lowered its benchmark rate by 0.25 percentage point to 4.25%, following a one-percentage-point cut in June to a post-Soviet low. The bank’s move makes lending to businesses and consumers cheaper in an economy hit hard by a twin strike of lockdowns and lower oil prices.
Board chairman of New Stream oil and gas company and former co-owner of troubled Antipinsky refinery Dmitry Mazurov charged with a 4 billion-ruble embezzlement (about $60 million) has filed a cassation appeal against a ruling declaring him bankrupt, according to the Moscow Commercial Court’s records, RAPSI reported. In mid-June, the Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals declared Mazurov. The ruling was delivered upon an application filed by Persit Services Inc. Its 2.08-billion-ruble claim was included in Mazurov’s creditor demands list.
Russian incomes in the second quarter plunged by the most since the country’s 1998 default as the economy of the world’s biggest energy exporter took a double blow from the pandemic and slump in global oil demand, Bloomberg News reported. Real disposable incomes fell 8% between April and June compared with a year ago, the Federal Statistics Service reported Friday. Data for the first quarter, which earlier showed a drop, were revised up to a 1.2% increase. “This situation with incomes is pointing to a lot of problems,” said Evgeny Nadorshin, chief economist at PF Capital in Moscow.
Russia’s $1.6 trillion economy is going to be dealt another blow when a moratorium is lifted on companies filing for bankruptcy, Bloomberg News reported. The measure, which was a condition of government pandemic support, helped protect healthy businesses from creditors but left those that won’t survive limping along as zombies. It expires in October. “It’s like a life-support machine for companies -- if there isn’t treatment, they will just die when it’s switched off,” said Yuriy Khalimovsky, a director at Deloitte’s legal service in St. Petersburg.
Russia’s retail sales plunged the most since records began in the latest sign that the government’s cautious stimulus program has done little to soften the economic blow from the coronavirus lockdown, Bloomberg News reported. Retail sales fell 23% in April, compared with the same period a year ago, Russia’s statistics agency said on Tuesday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey had forecast an 18% drop.
A decision on the future of the Elga coal project, one of the world’s largest coking coal deposits, is likely in the first quarter of 2020, the regional governor said in an interview, Reuters reported. Expansion of the mine, first developed by Russian steel and coal producer Mechel, has stalled in recent years as the project in the remote Yakutia region of Russia’s Far East demands significant investment to reach its annual operating capacity of 30 million tonnes.
A judge in London has ordered the former owners of Russia’s Trust Bank and their wives to pay the country’s central bank $900m to compensate for their role in an offshore scheme that led to its collapse, the Financial Times reported. Mr Justice Bryan, a judge in the English High Court, ruled on Thursday that Ilya Yurov, Sergei Belyaev, and Nikolai Fetisov had conspired to “evade banking standards” to falsify Trust’s accounts and use the bank’s 1.5m retail deposit base to help fund companies where they were the ultimate beneficiaries.
Russia’s VTB Capital has sued Mozambique to recover its share of defaulted debts at the heart of the impoverished African nation’s $2bn “tuna bond” scandal, the Financial Times reported. State-owned VTB is demanding repayment of a $535m loan, according to a lawsuit that it filed against the Mozambican government in London. In 2013 and 2014 Mozambique borrowed $1.4bn from VTB and Credit Suisse tied to maritime security projects, alongside a $850m bond it sold to investors for the financing of a tuna-fishing fleet.