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Russian Railways further reduces 2008 profit forecast

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Railways (RZD), the national rail monopoly, has reduced its net profit forecast for 2008 to 5.6 billion rubles ($203.7 million), according to documents prepared for Thursday's government session.

In early November, RZD CEO Vladimir Yakunin said the company's 2008 net profit would be 50% less than the predicted 16.2 billion rubles due to the ongoing global financial crisis.

At its meeting on Thursday, the government is due to discuss structural reform of railway transportation and RZD's investment program and financial plan for 2009-2011.

The company has also said it would cut its planned 411 billion-ruble ($14.9 billion) investment program for 2009 by 75 billion rubles ($2.7 billion).

International rating agency Fitch earlier this week downgraded rating outlooks for RZD from stable to negative.

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