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Russia's Sberbank to finance 35% of $705 mln deal to buy Opel

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Russia's largest bank Sberbank will contribute 35% to the 500 million euro ($705 million) deal to purchase struggling German automaker Opel, Sberbank CEO German Gref said on Thursday.

ST. PETERSBURG, June 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's largest bank Sberbank will contribute 35% to the 500 million euro ($705 million) deal to purchase struggling German automaker Opel, Sberbank CEO German Gref said on Thursday.

The German government and Magna International, backed by Russia's Sberbank and GAZ, reached a deal early on Saturday that will see the consortium take over Opel, part of U.S. car giant General Motors.

Magna, Canada's largest auto-component maker, will acquire a 20% stake in Opel while Russia's state-owned Sberbank will get 35%, with carmaker GAZ, owned by billionaire Oleg Deripaska, as an industrial partner. The consortium will be the majority shareholder, with GM owning 35% and Opel itself retaining 10%.

"Investment in equity is one part, a small one, that has not yet been finally defined. The second part is debt provision: proportionate to our 35% stake, we are financing the larger part of the 500 million euro deal," Gref said on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg economic forum.

Sberbank will undoubtedly sell the stake in the future, Gref said, adding that the shareholding would be sold to a Russian investor.

Gref also said that the deal was aimed at creating a transnational corporation with the inclusion of Russian automakers into it.

The Russian carmaker GAZ said on Monday it could start producing Opel cars within nine months if the consortium of investors taking over the German auto producer gave their backing.

"If the consortium makes a decision on the production of cars in Russia in cooperation with GAZ Group, our company as an industrial partner could arrange production using the capacity of its new technological complex in Nizhny Novgorod," GAZ said in a statement.

The new complex in Nizhny Novgorod in the Volga area was built in 2008 in cooperation with Chrysler and Magna, and is currently rolling out Volga Siber cars.

"The technological level of the production facility corresponds to top world standards, and the level of automation is 85%. This facility is fitted out with well-provided infrastructure and employs highly skilled personnel who have undergone training at Magna," the statement said.

Arrangements for Opel car production will not require financial investment from GAZ as its flexible production facility allows for the production of cars of any class, the statement said.

 

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