The stealthy takeover of Russian automaker OAO GAZ by OAO Siberian Aluminium (Sibal) is complete, and the metals group could gain seats on the automaker's board of directors next month, sources told just-auto.com today.

The board is expected to convene on November 29 to review changes in GAZ's ownership, including the stake amassed by Sibal. An extraordinary general meeting likely will be called then for late December to ratify changes in GAZ's leadership, now under discussion with the metals group, sources said, noting Sibal likely will gain high posts at the automaker.

News today follows a meeting on November 17 between Sibal head Oleg Deripaska and GAZ president Nikolai Pugin. On November 15, the metals group announced it had accumulated a stake exceeding 25% plus one share in the automaker, adding it planned to buy "absolute control" of GAZ.

A 25% stake is enough to veto strategic votes at shareholder meetings.

"Sibal only came public when it was certain it had effective control of GAZ, though this is not necessarily a 50% stake," Alexander Andreev, senior financial analyst at Brunswick UBS Warburg in Moscow, told just-auto.com.

Informed observers estimate Sibal now controls 30%-40% of GAZ shares.

GAZ (Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod or Gorky Auto Factory) is the second-largest producer of vehicles in the ex-USSR, behind Lada-maker AO AvtoVAZ. Its foreign partners include European Bank for Reconstruction and Development plus Fiat Auto SpA. GAZ is based 400km east of Moscow in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia's third-biggest city (renamed Gorky 1932-1991).

Contact Ryan James Tutak, associate editor of just-auto.com for Eastern Europe:
E rjt@pronet.hu
F +36-1 / 317-7257
T +36-1 / 266-2693


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