Danone considering sale of WBD stake after Unimilk deal
A deal by French dairy products giant, Danone, to merge its operations in Russia, Belarussia and Ukraine with Unimilk, a large Russian dairy, has thrown in doubt its 18% holding in Russia's NYSE quoted Wimm-Bill-Dann.
Danone said last Friday the merger with Unimilk will make the joint venture the largest producer of dairy goods in the former Soviet Union, with annual sales reaching euro 1.5 billion ($1.8 billion).
HSBC aggressively seeks Russian market share
Having had an office in Russia since 1907 and after a decade of concentrating on offering services to corporate and institutional customers HSBC, one of the World’s largest banks, is now aggressively going after retail customers and businesses. In June last year the Bank, headquartered in Paveletskaya Tower, opened four retail branches in Moscow and one in St Petersburg. More are on the way.
Russia turns west for arms
By Patrick Armstrong
Russia Inc. The Finance Ministry announced that the budget deficit in 2009 was 2.3 trillion Rubles (US$78 billion – about 25% less than anticipated); GDP declined nearly 8%; the Reserve Fund holds about US$60 billion and the National Welfare Fund about US$95 billion. The IMF has raised its estimate for Russia’s GDP growth in 2010 to 4.25% from 4% and estimates that inflation will be 6%. Rumours of Russia’s economic death have been exaggerated: indeed these numbers look rather better than the IMF’s estimates for either the Euro Area or the USA. Medvedev’s calls for Russia to be treated as a major player in the world financial system don’t look so implausible today.
CTC Media launches channel in Israel
CTC International, a Russian language channel drawing content from CTC, Domashny and DTV channels has been launched in in Israel, by Russia's CTC Media. The channel is distributed on the Yes satellite platform and the HOT cable network, which have a combined total of approximately 120 thous. Russian-speaking subscribers. CTC Media has signed 2-year non-exclusive distribution agreements with the broadcasters.
The international version of CTC, which was launched in the United States in December 2009, is a 24-hour a day family entertainment channel with a broad range of high quality programming content from the CTC (80%), Domashny and DTV channels.
1 million people, or 13% of the Israeli population, is Russian-speaking. Overall pay-TV market revenues are estimated at US $230 million for the full year 2009 *.
Anton Kudryashov, Chief Executive Officer of CTC Media, commented: “The launch of CTC International in Israel is in line with our international expansion strategy and follows the introduction of the channel in the United States at the end of last year. Israel is an attractive TV market, with 224 minutes of average daily household viewing in 2009, which is higher than in most European countries **. Furthermore, there are over 1.5 million pay-TV subscribers in Israel, with pay-TV penetration of close to 80% ***, and cable and satellite pay-TV subscription rates are also relatively high.”
Irina Shalinets, Director of the International Broadcasting Department of CTC Media, added: “Many CTC programs and series are already familiar to viewers in Israel because they have previously been acquired by local broadcasters. TV viewers will now be able to watch the best of our content on a dedicated 24/7 channel.”
Ron Hermelin, Head of Channels at HOT cable network, commented: “HOT was the first company in the world to broadcast CTC content outside Russia, which we did on our Video On Demand platform. Given the popularity of the channel content among our subscribers and the demand for more Russian language programming, we are delighted to be able to add the CTC International channel to our offering.”
“CTC’s infotainment genre is the perfect fit for our range of Russian-language TV channels, and will make our package even more attractive to viewers”, emphasized Yoina Vizental, Deputy Chief Content Officer of Yes satellite platform.
The Nasdaq quoted CTC Media, Inc. is one of the largest commercial television broadcasters in Russia offering entertainment programming. It operates three free-to-air Russian television networks, CTC , Domashny, and DTV and a number of owned-and-operated regional television stations across Russia, which broadcast CTC, Domashny and DTV programming and also owns Channel 31 in Kazakhstan and broadcasting companies in Uzbekistan and Moldova.