RUSSIA: Renault may vary AvtoVAZ stake
Renault could adjust the size of its 25% stake in AvtoVAZ if asked by the Russian government, chief executive Carlos Ghosn has said.
Renault bought its AvtoVAZ stake for $1bn in 2008 but the once fast-growing Russian market tanked last year as car sales halved during the credit crisis.
AvtoVAZ had to be rescued by the state as it came close to collapsing under mammoth debts, raising questions about whether Renault would unload its stake, Reuters noted.
"If this 25% stake is to change, it is not up to us. It is up to the Russian government to ask us about it, and then we will reconsider," Ghosn told Reuters Insider in an interview ahead of talks with prime minister Vladimir Putin.
When asked if the stake in the maker of the Lada could be sold within the next two years, he replied, "No."
Ghosn later met Putin at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport. Putin said later the government would review its strategy to develop the car industry this week, while Ghosn reiterated his confidence in AvtoVAZ.
Ghosn said earlier that AvtoVAZ could make money and pledged to support the new chief executive, Igor Komarov. But he also made it clear that responsibility for the group's recovery rested with the CEO.
"New CEO Komarov is doing a very good job. We will support him ... mainly with technology and equipment, not so much with money in cash. Cash is being provided by the government," Ghosn said at Renault's main plant in Moscow which recently expanded capacity and started building the Sandero hatchback alongside the Logan sedan.
AvtoVAZ, based in Togliatti on the Volga River, is due to announce a restructuring plan later this month.