Russia 110214 Basic Political Developments

Russian company invests in cold

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Russian company invests in cold

Posted: 2/14/2011 2:34:52 PM

Russian company MMG Production has announced plans to create a Winter Park at Fisherman’s Wharf.

The total investment is estimated at US$19 million (MOP152 million).

The first stage of the project will open next Friday (February 18), including an ice rink and an ice sculpture gallery.

For this 300-square metre initial phase, the company has invested US$3 million and it will charge a MOP65 entry fee.

The second phase will include an indoor winter city built on an area of 3,000 square metres, with walking and skiing tracks, and a food court.

After getting all the approvals, the MMG Production expects to take 18 months to have the second phase ready.

When the Winter Park is fully developed, the company expects to receive about 20,000 visitors per day.

“We want to take advantage of Macau’s huge touristic potential to offer a new entertainment proposal,” MMG Production financial director, Dmitriy Shport told reporters.

Russia’s Teleca acquires UK based SurfKitchen

Teleca has acquired the UK’s SurfKitchen, effectively adding mobile internet solutions for operators to its wide portfolio. The UK investment further expands Teleca’s portfolio to include persuasive offerings for the mobile operator sector. Teleca believes customers will significantly benefit from the unique combination of SurfKitchen’s strong operator offering, combined with Teleca’s deep relations and skills for the mobile device sector.

Teleca is a world-leading supplier of solutions and services to the mobile and connected industries. SurfKitchen has approximately 55 employees and helps mobile operators and their partners overcome the discoverability, usability and fulfillment challenges associated with the delivery of mobile applications and services.

Michel Quazza, Chairman and CEO of SurfKitchen, said the acquisition brings together two companies with very complementary skill sets. SurfKitchen will get access to Teleca’s strong presence in the connected devices industry and its extensive partner network, while Teleca can offer its deep knowledge of embedded systems to SurfKitchen’s operator customers.

The result is true end-to-end services that benefit the whole industry and will provide unique differentiation, said Quazza.

René Svendsen-Tune, CEO at Teleca, noted that the mobile and connected devices industries are moving from software enabled hardware businesses to hardware enabled software businesses. As such, Svendsen-Tune noted that there will be rapid growth in the overall market of content and application consumption. Through this acquisition, the firm can offer mobile operators, platform providers and other layers in the mobile industry complete solutions for applications and content delivery, he said.

The acquisition strengthens Teleca’s ability to offer its products and solutions to the operator market, while SurfKitchen gains access to Teleca’s global reach, customer portfolio, cost effective services and scale.

SurfKitchen will stay as an independent business unit within the Teleca organization. The company will focus globally on the operator segment, concentrating on business development, sales & product R&D. SurfKitchen will leverage Teleca’s extensive global services for its customer deployment.

The acquisition fits well into Teleca’s strategy of expanding its mobile software outsourcing services to all relevant industries. In 2009, Teleca created a unit to deliver mobile apps, which has already achieved significant customer wins in the media and entertainment industry. Through SurfKitchen, Teleca can offer the operator segment significant advantages, including complete end-to-end apps solutions, full content and subscriber management services, more than 80% market coverage, a first-rate partner network and increased competitiveness. SurfKitchen is uniquely focused on providing mobile operators and their partners with the ability to deliver the optimum mobile user experience for mobile Internet applications and services.

13 Feb 2011.

London snubbed by Russian Papa John’s
Monday, 14th February 2011



THE RUSSIAN franchise of Papa John’s, the global pizza chain, has snubbed London to list on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Worldwide Papa’s, which operates four outlets in St. Petersburg under the American brand Papa John’s, will today begin trading in Germany.

The development comes after a slew of Russian companies pulled plans to list in London.

The company considered London for the listing, as well as Hong Kong, although chose Frankfurt due to its strong ties to Russia.

A total of 66 firms from the country are now listed in Frankfurt, catching up on the 100 companies on the London Stock Exchange.

Worldwide Papa’s has issued 80 million shares for 100 per cent of the company in an effort to raise €5.6m (£4.7m), valuing the firm at €56m.

One of the firm’s outlets in St Petersburg is amongst the top three Papa John’s pizza chains out of more than 3,300 worldwide.

The company hopes to use the share issuance to expand, with plans for more than 200 restaurants.

The rules of scavenging for gold
Published: 14 February, 2011, 02:41
Edited: 14 February, 2011, 02:41

Private yellow metal recovery may be allowed in Russia before the summer Tatiana Zykova

A sole proprietor will be able to earn more than 2 million rubles a season, if he washes out 2kg of gold, estimated Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Viktor Orlov.

Meanwhile, the startup expenses for the necessary tools and equipment, including a wheelbarrow, a pickaxe, a shovel and a pump, won’t exceed 50,000 rubles – the senator described the attractive prospects of privately scavenging for gold on the eve of the second reading of the amendments to the Law “On Mineral Resources”.

For more than 10 years now, senators and deputies of the Northern and East Siberian regions, rich in gold reserves and, mainly, abandoned gold-mines that are of no interest to industrialists, have been trying to bring back “free metal recovery on unoccupied sites” to Russia, which was banned in the 1950s.

And now, the wheels have been set in motion. In its first reading, the bill was supported by a record number of deputies – a total of 411 lawmakers.

According to the head of the Federation Council Committee on the North and Indigenous Peoples, Aleksandr Matveev, all that remains to be done is work on some minor details, so that already by the beginning of the gold washing season, May-June, the law will be in effect.     

RG had already reported on this piece of legislation in the past—namely, about the fact that only the Russian citizens, registered as sole proprietors, will be able to collect stream gold. They will have to receive a free license for the use of a specific site of subsurface resources, believed to hold no more than 10kg of yellow metal in the simplified regime – without competitive tenders and auctions. Meanwhile, no one will guarantee that gold is present on the sites. Entrepreneurs will work at their own risk. The goal is to create up to 10,000 new jobs without attracting investment and save many villages of Siberia, the Far East and Far North from poverty.

Viktor Orlov stressed that free yellow metal recovery will be allowed for the local population, familiar with the basics of geology and manual extraction methods of the resources at abandoned “golden fields”, rather than newcomers.    

According to the chairman of one of the co-operative associations of gold prospectors (Tuva Republic) Aleksandr Nevolin, the “monetary product” will attract tens of thousands of people, hoping to make some easy money. Meanwhile, coming to the Taiga or getting lost there by not having any knowledge or expertise won’t be hard. Moreover, the physically untrained individuals, without the necessary tools and food supplies, will quickly turn from gold scavengers into food scavengers – or vagabonds. “People will stop hiking, picking mushrooms and berries, and Taiga will turn into a source of increased danger,” says Nevolin. Also, he continues, a struggle for production sites is possible. Moreover, sites that are allocated under licensing agreements will be hard to monitor: where was the gold washed out, to whom was it given, was any additional gold, or any gold at all, recovered. Local authorities, who issue the licenses, together with the law enforcement agencies, will be the ones to answer all these questions. And it’s hard to say if, as a result, there will be more gold recovery or crime in the country. 

However, according to the Union of Gold Industry Entrepreneurs, the new law will make it possible to legalize only 5 tons of the gold, recovered in the country. Experts estimate the amount of gold that can be annually added to Kolyma’s total gold recovery is about one ton. Meanwhile, a total of 205 tons of gold is currently being annually recovered in Russia. With the modern technologies, say experts, at least 15% of gold is left behind in the exhausted minable deposits. At the same time, the global price of gold, of more than $1,300 per troy ounce, is breaking all the records. The idea of allowing private parties to recover gold is also approved by the Russian jewelers, who are ready to increase raw material processing by more than 5%.     

A number of other practical questions continue to exist, which even the authors of the draft law are having a hard time answering. Gold purchasing stations, where gold will be bought at the state-regulated price, will need to be set up in the regions. But, does this guarantee that, after washing out gold, licensed individuals won’t simply sell it to the highest bidder? What will be the responsibility of private gold miners? Then, how will the metal be transported to the gold purchasing stations? And, God forbid, coming across those looking to make easy money (today, there are many of them in the Taiga) while there is no one else around.       

There is another question that hasn’t been fully considered – concerning the payment of taxes of the individual free gold scavengers. Authors of the draft law are suggesting applying the simplified tax model and even a zero income tax, citing the difficult manual labor conditions. But the Finance Ministry categorically objects to this much freedom. Another question is – hired labor. Mining for gold alone is impossible. There is only one solution – to unite with other licensed individuals or work with the family. Hiring employees is strictly prohibited for private gold miners. And the last issue: illegal gold recovery in Russia is estimated at more than 10,000 tons a year – that’s almost 10% of total production. Where will all those, who buy this gold, disappear? This is an entire illegal industry, with its own infrastructure, airplanes, and international syndicates.

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