19.12.2014 - IKEA halts furniture sales in Russia because of a huge demand
Swedish furniture giant Ikea has called a temporary halt on sales of its kitchen furniture and appliances in Russia as it couldn't cope with the extra demand brought on by the fall in the Russian rouble, the Local reports.
Shoppers in Russia have been snapping up cut-price deals as the value of the country's currency has made consumer goods cheaper. In the wake of the crisis Ikea had been flooded with orders, but is now calling a halt on sales on a range of its items.
"IKEA Russia is temporarily stopping sales of kitchen furniture and appliances due to a large number of customer orders. Sales of kitchen furniture and appliances will be resumed starting Saturday, Dec. 20," the company said in a statement.
Several business media outlets have stated that the price of Ikea goods in Russia have sank by as much as 50 percent. For instance the popular 'Billy' bookcase, which isn't on the suspended list, is now retailing for as little as $30 after previously being sold for $62.
Several companies have been savvy to the currency drop and altered their prices as a result.
Ikea's decision follows hot on the heels of the move made by Apple to close its popular online store citing "extreme fluctuations" in relation to the value of the rouble.
The Swedish giant has warned that prices are expected to rise when sales resume in Russia.
"Also, prices on the site are currently being updated, therefore they may differ from prices in stores," the company said in a statement.
05.12.14 - Fortum purchases Russian hydropower capacitites
A historical agreement between Fortum, Rosatom and Gazprom gives the Finnish energy major control over a lion’s share of hydropower capacities in Northwest Russia, the Barents Observer reports.
The deal signed between the three companies will give Fortum ownership over all of TGC-1’s hydropower assets in Murmansk Oblast, the Republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast. In addition, the Finnish company will take over a 15 percent stake in the Fennovoima nuclear power project.
In return, Gazprom and its subsidiary Gazprom Energy Holding will take over all of TGC-1’s thermal power capacities. The Territorial Generating Company No 1 (TGC-1) is one of the biggest electric power producers in Northwest Russia and has until now been owned by Gazprom (51,8%) and Fortum (29,5%).
The swop also includes the inclusion of Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear power corporation, with a 25 percent stake in a new joint venture with Fortum. Fortum takes the remaining 75 percent of the new company, Yle informs.
The TGC-1 owns and operates a fleet of 40 hydro power plants with a total capacity of about 3,000 MW, and hydro power generation accounts for 41 percent (12-13 TWh) of the company’s total electricity generation. In addition, the company owns 14 thermal plants with a total electricity capacity of 4,300 MW and has a total heat capacity of 16,500MW (29 TWh/a).
With the deal, a number of power plants originally built by Finnish companies, some of them located on territories previously belonging to Finland, will again get Finnish ownership. TGK-1 owns a string of hydropower plants in the Kola Peninsula, several of them located in Pechenga, the area which was part of Finland in the mid-war period. TheTGK-1 also has generating capacities in the Republic of Karelia.
The takeover of the Russian assets will boost Fortum’s hydropower portfolio by 60 percent, the company says in a press release. ”This clearly demonstrates Fortum’s strong commitment to CO2-free production”, CEO Tapio Kuula says.
“These transactions strengthen the cooperation between energy sector companies in Finland and Russia”, CEO of Rosatom Sergey Kirienko says in the same press release.
The deal might take the steam out of an ongoing corporate dispute between Fortum andTGC-1 co-owner Gazprom Energy Holding. According to newspaper Kommersant, the Finnish company has strongly protested against the recent selling of one of TGC’s hydropower plants in Murmansk Oblast to industrial company Rusal and has consequently blocked a number of other corporate decisions.
The 15 percent ownership stake in the Fennovoima nuclear power project will give Fortum a key role in the development of the controversial project. As previously reported, the projected NPP is based on Russian technology and is owned 34 percent by Rosatom.
25.11.14 - Norwegian oil trawl presented in Russia
Norwegian company "NorLense" – a tenant in the Murmansk-based Siva centre - presented its new equipment in the Bay of Kola. The attention of environmentalists was attracted to the so-called "oil trawl", which can effectively eliminate oil spills, Barentsnova reports.
One of the workshops of the Murmansk Business Week was dedicated to the international cooperation in fighting oil spills in the Arctic. This was the central topic at one of the two "round tables" of the 7th International Conference "Arctic Shelf Development: Step by Step" and among the main focuses of the 10th International Technology Exhibition "SevTec'14". In the framework of the latter event, the company "NorLense" demonstrated its new equipment, and not just on the stand in the expositional hall of the Murmansk Ice Palace, but in the field conditions of Kola Bay.
The Norwegian companies are long and successfully engaged in the development of equipment to prevent or fight oil spills. The new methods and constructions are being quickly put to use. For example, the Coast Guard of the Kingdom has got already a completely new device for collecting oil. The designers of "NorLense" called it OilTrawl. It consists of the traditional enough inflatable boom part and the innovative collection bag equipped with a special filter that allows to separate oil from water.
The deployment and retrieval of the system are operated by only one man. The system requires no deck space, as it is deployed from the container or the reel directly into the sea. After encircling the oil spot it is enough to pull the ends of the boon to collect at least 90% of the spilled oil into the container.
In such a way there is no need to use skimmers that pump oil emulsion into special tanks on board the ships. The new system's collection (storage) bags are easily and safely connected and disconnected immediately in the sea, after which (when filled with oil) they can be towed to shore or hoisted on board. The operation with a new bag can be continued or repeated until the water surface is clean.
Russian specialists have appreciated the new device and would certainly like to have it among their equipment, but there is the question of price. Given the present exchange rate of the Russian currency, one such trawl costs more than 6 million rubles. "The trawl is very good, as well as other products of Norwegian firms producing similar equipment. The Murmansk region really needs it. But the company I represent is unlikely to afford it. On the other hand, if one of the companies we work for purchase it on its own, we will be glad to use it," says Alexandr Glazov, the head of the private emergency team in the region.