Georgian Wine, Central Bank, Rosneft: Business in Brief

Russia Imports 70% of All Georgian Wine in Q1

Imports of Georgian wine to Russia are gaining momentum after the scrapping of a seven-year-long ban in July. Shipments reached 13.3 million 0.75-liter bottles or 70 percent of all wine produced in the Caucasian republic in the first quarter of this year, Itar-Tass reported, quoting Georgia's National Wine Agency.

Georgia exported nearly 19 million bottles of wine to 26 countries for $62.2 million in January to March, more than double from the same period a year ago. Ukraine was the top buyer with 2.6 million bottles, and Russia ranked second with 1.6 million bottles.

Russia banned imports of wine from Georgia in March 2006 citing its low quality and presence of pesticides. (MT)

Central Bank Revokes Licenses of Two More Banks

The Central Bank has revoked licenses of Moscow's Pervy Respublikansky and Atlas banks, Itar-Tass reported Monday, quoting a news release published by the regulator on its website.

Pervy Respublikansky, ranking 109th among Russian banks by asset volume, was punished for pursuing a "risky policy by investing in low-quality assets."

Atlas lost its license due to accusations that it had repeatedly violated laws on money laundering and financing terrorism. Besides, the bank was accused of involvement in dubious operations by transferring abroad 9 billion rubles ($250 million) in 2013.

Atlas, ranking 744th by asset value, was founded by Atlasmont Banka, is the second-biggest bank in Montenegro, with assets of $200 million.

The Central Bank stepped up a campaign to clean up the banking sector last year, snatching licenses from dozens of lenders. (MT)

Caspian Pipeline Exports Rise 31%

Russian and Kazakh oil exports via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, or CPC, in April jumped 31 percent from a year earlier as a result of expanded capacity.

Loadings carried from Kazakhstan's Caspian Sea oil deposits to Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiysk rose to 916,384 barrels per day, or bpd, in April from 698,828 bpd a year earlier, CPC said Monday.

That was up from 837,682 bpd pumped in March.

CPC exports rose to 32.7 million tons in 2013 from 31.8 million a year earlier and plans call for further expansion of the pipeline's capacity to 40 million tons this year.

Although it was developed in conjunction with the Russian government, the pipeline was the first to give the Caspian Sea region and Kazakhstan a viable alternative to more Russian-dominated northern export routes. (Reuters)

Pirelli Deal with Rosneft Unaffected by Sanctions

MILAN — Western sanctions on Russia following its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea have no impact on a deal between Pirelli and Russian oil major Rosneft, the chairman of the Italian tire maker said on Monday.

"The timetable of the deal is confirmed, nothing has changed," Pirelli chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera told journalists on the sidelines of an event in Milan.

Pirelli struck a deal with Rosneft in March that made the oil major the group's single largest shareholder, gaining in exchange the chance to exploit the Russian company's big gas station network to sell tires.

This move is expected to boost the tire maker's expansion ambitions in Russia, which currently accounts only for about 5 percent of its sales. (Reuters)

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