Russia's Plans for Opel

As most of you know by now, the deal between Magna and Opel is not as straight forward as it may first appear. The Russians, perhaps even more than Magna thanks to the 35 percent stake they hold through the state controlled Sberbank, are very interested in the future of Opel.

For now, the Russians do not intend to get involved in making decisions for Opel, but they will make use of the company's know-how go give a boost to the local industry, as Igor Shuvalov, Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister said.

"Opel is famous for its plentiful know-how... The goal of the deal is, on the base of its know-how and the possibilities Russia has, to create new know-how and to use it as a base to take a leap into the future," Shuvalov was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The deal with Magna, GM and Opel states that Sberbank will also pay some 65 million euro for GM's plant in St. Petersburg, which will pass over to Magna. In the near future, Sberbank will give up its 35 percent stake in Opel to a so called "Russian strategic investor", according to the bank's CEO, German Gref.

The stake is rumored to pass over to GAZ, a company controlled by Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, now only an industrial partner in the deal between Magna and Sberbank. Some sources say the stake may also get in the hands of the state controlled Russian Technologies.

Igor Shuvalov declined to say in who will eventually own Opel, but did say that his government did not pressure Sberbank into the deal. "We in the government knew about the deal, we constantly discussed it with Sberbank but didn't pressure them," he said.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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