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Russia undaunted by GM's Opel decision - Putin

Russia undaunted by GM's Opel decision - Putin
Russia undaunted by GM's Opel decision - Putin - Sputnik International
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General Motors' decision not to sell Opel to a Canadian-Russian consortium will not affect Russia's car industry, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

MOSCOW, November 5 (RIA Novosti) - General Motors' decision not to sell Opel to a Canadian-Russian consortium will not affect Russia's car industry, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

"General Motors' decision not to carry out the deal and drop plans to sell Opel to the Magna-Sberbank consortium will clearly not damage our interests," Putin said.

The prime minister said Russia would continue to cooperate with foreign automakers, including in the United States. He complained, however, that the company's decision was utterly unexpected.

"General Motors... presented everyone with a fait accompli," he said. "It's a good lesson, and we will have to take into account this style of doing business in the future."

The U.S. auto giant decided late Tuesday to retain its big European subsidiary, citing "an improving business environment" in Europe.

The Russian government said on Wednesday General Motors's decision was "surprising."

"General Motors placed its European division in control of a trust, which has effectively approved the deal. It is up to the trust to take any further steps. In this connection, General Motors' decision to reverse the deal is causing surprise," Putin was quoted as saying by his spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wednesday expressed disappointment with the decision, describing it as "a defeat."

Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle said the government would now seek to recover the 1.5 billion-euro bridge loan the government gave Opel last year to keep it afloat until Canadian auto parts maker Magna and Sberbank could take a 55% stake.

On September 10, General Motors announced that it would sell Opel to a consortium of Canada's auto parts maker Magna and Russia's largest bank, Sberbank. The decision was approved by the Opel board and the German government.

According to the previous plans, the Magna-Sberbank consortium was to have a 55% stake in Opel on a parity basis, and the German carmaker was to control 10%, with GM retaining 35%.

 

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