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September 7, 2009

OPEL UPDATE: GAZ doesn’t want equity stake

Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska's carmaker GAZ , the Russian parter in the Magna-led bid for Opel, is not interested in an equity stake in Opel, Deripaska told Vedomosti newspaper.

Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s carmaker GAZ, Russian parter in the Magna-led bid for Opel, is not interested in an equity stake in Opel, Deripaska told Vedomosti newspaper.

“We can help them set up assembly at our facility and offer our dealer network for marketing. There is no talk of buying a stake,” Deripaska told the newspaper in remarks published on Monday, according to Reuters.

Parent GM is under pressure from the German government, which has come out strongly in favour of Canadian auto parts group Magna’s bid, to settle on Magna or Belgian-based rival RHJ International and make a “fundamental decision” this week.

But sources have said some GM board members favour keeping Opel.

The Magna bid is to be part financed by Russian state lender Sberbank but Russia’s largest bank is unlikely to be a long-term holder of the stake, which analysts believe is a key to the government’s plan to modernise its backward auto industry.

The issue of handing over technology to Russia has been a thorny one. Deripaska – who was once denied a visa to the United States – conceded that Russian business was often not welcome abroad.

“In the Opel case the issue is also the US State Department’s superstitions,” Deripaska said.

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