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September 21, 2009

RUSSIA: Opel deal ‘meaningless’ unless technology transferred

Sberbank's participation in the acquisition of Opel would be meaningless unless it leads to exports of Opel technologies to Russia, CEO German Gref reiterated at the weekend.

Sberbank’s participation in the acquisition of Opel would be meaningless unless it leads to exports of Opel technologies to Russia, CEO German Gref reiterated at the weekend.

Access to Opel technologies had been an important reason for the Russian bank to agree to take part in the deal, Gref said.

Sberbank and Magna International are preparing to acquire Opel from its US parent, General Motors. According to media reports, however, GM is sceptical about the transfer of Opel technologies to Russia.

Gref told reporters that Russia’s largest carmaker AvtoVAZ could be brought into the deal producing parts for a new low-cost car.

“Cooperation is possible … We are very interested to stabilise the situation on AvtoVAZ because it is our big client,” he said.

AvtoVAZ has been hit hard by the slump in the country’s car market and plans massive layoffs despite an unprecedented cash injection from the state.

GAZ, part of indebted entrepreneur Oleg Deripaska’s Basel conglomerate, has already said it wants to be an industrial partner in the Magna/Sberbank deal on Opel.

AvtoVAZ, which is 25% controlled by Renault, has had not previously been mentioned as seeking a role. 

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