MOSCOW – Renault SA and affiliate Nissan Motor Co. may sign an agreement to buy control of Russia’s OAO AvtoVAZ in March, AvtoVAZ Chief Executive Officer Igor Komarov said.
“The main issues between shareholders have been solved already,” he said in a statement sent by the carmaker’s press office Tuesday. “The negotiations may be completed in March.”
Renault, which bought 25 percent of Russia’s largest carmaker for $1 billion in 2008, is seeking to use AvtoVAZ’s Soviet-era Lada brand to reduce costs by sharing production and suppliers.
Buying control of AvtoVaz would also give Renault an early advantage over other global carmakers in Europe’s most populous country, where vehicle deliveries may surpass those of France this year.
“With an enormous population set to grow even bigger, it’s definitely a good strategy to capture the Russian market before other carmakers enter,” said Mitsushige Akino, who oversees about $600 million at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. “By entering the market through acquiring the biggest carmaker it will make it easier for Nissan and Renault to be accepted by the local consumers.”
The Renault-Nissan alliance has been in talks with AvtoVAZ shareholders Troika Dialog and state-owned Russian Technologies Corp. to purchase a 25 percent holding, for a total controlling stake of 50 percent plus one share.
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