French automaker Renault sold its majority stake in the Russian manufacturer of Lada cars to the state automotive research institute (NAMI) for the symbolic amount of one ruble (0.0013 euro cents). The Russian buyer, NAMI, was founded nearly a hundred years ago to support Russian vehicle manufacturing.
The French manufacturer will have to hand over the Moscow plant where the Renault and Nissan cars are made to the city council.
Neither the French carmaker nor the French government have commented on the agreement. Russian news agencies have reported on it for the first time, citing a statement from Trade Minister Denis Manturov.
Renault, which the French government has a 15 percent stake in, acquired a 25 percent stake in AvtoVAZ back in 2008 and then gradually increased its shareholding to the current 68 percent.
Renault has announced that it would suspend operations at its Moscow plant after the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war and is considering a €2.2 billion cashless write-off of the company that takes into account the potential costs of suspending its operations in Russia.
Lada manufactures two of Russia’s best-selling cars, the Vesta and the Grant, and commands about 22 percent of the local market. According to its latest annual report, Renault earned about 10 percent of its revenue from Russia last year and AvtoVAZ’s profit margin was 8.7 percent.
The Minister of Commerce also said that Renault will have the right to repurchase its stake, but for more than a single ruble. “If we make investments during this period, it will be reflected in the costs. There will be no gifts,” Manturov told the Russian Interfax news agency.
Since the start of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24, more than 750 companies have shut down in Russia, either temporarily or completely.