OPEL AFTERMATH: Russian media joy tinged with caution
Russian media gleefully reported the Opel deal involving Magna International and Russian partners Sberbank and GAZ, saying the country's auto industry would welcome access to new technology.
"Half a billion for intellectual property," headlined the financial daily Vedomosti, according to AFP. This was a reference to the EUR500m equity investment envisaged by the consortium.
"The most controversial moment in the negotiations was the question over Opel's technology and intellectual property. GM did not want to give it away to the new owners but made concessions," the paper was quoted as saying.
The Russian car industry has this year been hit by plunging domestic demand due to the economic crisis.
Business paper RBK said: "The Russian auto industry was focused on this deal and has been awaiting the new technology with impatience."
Kommersant noted GAZ involvement had been a subject of major concern for GM.
"GM did not want to sell Opel technology into Russian hands," said the paper, noting that both president Dmitry Medvedev and prime minister Vladimir Putin had both supported the bid "as a possible avenue towards obtaining new technologies."
RBK reported that Opel specialists had already visited the GAZ production plant, carried out an audit and test of the capacities and were happy with the result.
Kommersant suggested the deal could yet hit problems if it turned into a spat between GM and Russia over Opel's production plans, AFP reported.
GM would retain influence by having representatives on a joint production board which would have to clear all of Magna and Sberbank's plans connected to Opel.
"This means that GM will keep a serious influence on Opel and Magna will not be completely free in taking decisions," said Kommersant. "This is the main risk in the transaction".