Will Nissan-Renault rule the Russian auto market by buying majority stake in Avtovaz?

The Renault-Nissan Alliance and state corporation Russian Technologies have announced some interesting news today. Each company has agreed to create a joint venture and give Renault-Nissan an indirect majority stake in AVTOVAZ, the Russian automaker.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance, AVTOVAZ, Russian Technologies and Troika Dialog, a Russian investment firm, signed the non-binding agreement today in Paris, France. According to rules set in the memorandum, Renault-Nissan and Russian Technologies will contribute their respective stakes in AVTOVAZ. The joint venture will control AVTOVAZ, which is Russia’s largest car company and maker of the iconic Lada brand.

Renault-Nissan plans to invest a hefty amount of money, around $750 million dollars into AVTOVAZ. Renault plans to invest about $300 million in the joint venture. Nissan, which does not currently own a stake in AVTOVAZ, will invest about $450 million, sharing the cost. Each company will make recurring payments through 2014.

This should will give the French-Japanese car group 67.13% of the joint venture by mid-2014. The joint venture along with Russian Technologies will hold 74.5% of AVTOVAZ.

“Today’s memorandum is the latest step in an expanding collaboration that helps modernize the leader of Russia’s auto industry,” said Renault-Nissan Alliance Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn. “Just as Renault and Nissan will continue their technology transfer to AVTOVAZ plants, our AVTOVAZ colleagues will contribute more and more to the Alliance’s multicultural management bench.”

Renault purchased 25% of AVTOVAZ in 2008 and then helped the Russian automaker with an aggressive turnaround. It seems though that Carlos Ghosn feels he can do even better. It is important to note Ghosn is credited with bringing back Nissan from the brink of financial destruction and making the Japanese automaker profitable.


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