Renault loses some feathers in Russia
The industrial and automotive group Renault has sold its assets in Russia to the Russian state, the two parties announced separately on Monday 16 May, the French group specifying that it retains the option to buy back its shares in Avtovaz, manufacturer of the Lada, for six years. This sale follows the Russian operation in Ukraine.
“Agreements have been signed for a transfer of the Russian assets of the Renault group to the Russian Federation and the Moscow government,” the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade said in a statement.
The Renault group has confirmed the sale of its nearly 68% stake in Avtovaz, Russia’s largest carmaker. But the French group said it would keep the option to buy back its shares for six years. No financial details were provided Monday, May 16, but Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said in April that Renault was considering selling its Russian assets for “a symbolic ruble.”
“Today, we have taken a difficult but necessary decision; and we are making a responsible choice with regard to our 45,000 employees in Russia, while preserving the group’s performance and our ability to return to the country in the future, in a different context,” Renault CEO Luca de Meo said, quoted in a group statement.
Renault’s board of directors “unanimously approved the signing of agreements to sell 100% of the Renault Group’s stake in Renault Russia to the city of Moscow and its 67.69% stake in Avtovaz to NAMI (the Central Institute for Research and Development of Automobiles and Engines),” according to the statement, in which Renault did not give an amount.
Sergei Sobyanin, who is the mayor of Moscow, mentioned for his part that Renault had decided to close its plant near the Russian capital, which produces Nissan and Renault cars. Russia is the Renault group’s second-largest market in the world behind Europe, with nearly 500,000 vehicles sold in 2021, but the group’s presence in the country has been questioned since the start of the Russian operation in Ukraine.
The automotive group is also facing logistical problems due to a shortage of imported components caused by Western sanctions. Avtovaz had to send its employees on paid leave for three weeks in April, stopping most of its production.