AVTOVAZ to join state technology corporation

( RBC ) - Along with Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, the Russian technology state corporation will also include Rosoboronexport's affiliates, among them helicopter maker OPK Oboronprom, RussSpetsStal, VSMPO Avisma and AVTOVAZ, Russia's largest carmaker, Rosoboronexport General Director and AVTOVAZ Chairman of the Board Sergei Chemezov said, according to information materials prepared for the First All-Russia Scientific and Practical Conference "Pressing Issues Facing Mechanical Engineering Development in Russia."

Rosoboronexport, a state-owned enterprise, will be transformed into an open joint-stock company, after which 100 percent of its stock will be transferred to the authorized capital of the Russian technology corporation. All companies currently managed by Rosoboronexport will hold IPOs by 2012, according to the conference materials. VSMPO-Avisma, AVTOVAZ and Oboronprom are scheduled to have IPOs in 2009. President Vladimir Putin submitted the bill "On the Russian Technology state corporation to promote design, production and export of hi-tech products" to the State Duma on Wednesday. The first reading of the bill will be held before October 15.

According to the bill, the new corporation is designed to promote the design, production and export of hi-tech products by supporting Russian designers and producers of industrial products on world markets. Other goals include the creation of a sales network for hi-tech industrial productions, intellectual products, services and information, as well as attracting investment into Russia's industrial and defense sectors. The technology corporation will have a Supervisory Council, the Executive Board and General Director.

Speaking at the conference, Chemezov said his company could sell a blocking stake to a strategic partner. Earlier this week Chemezov said Rosoboronexport was going to sell part of its stake in AVTOVAZ. He said the company was in talks with Alexei Mordashev, the majority shareholder in Russia's largest steel company Severstal, and Alisher Usmanov, who owns half of Metalloinvest, the leading Russian mining and metallurgy company. Chemezov said AVTOVAZ needed a partner to provide high-quality steel for automobile production. "We want to sell less than 25 percent," he said.

Rosoboronexport will retain a blocking stake of 25 percent plus one share in AVTOVAZ once cross shareholding has been unwound. "After the unwinding of cross shareholding, Rosoboronexport plans to sell up to 25 percent of its stock through a public offering," Chemezov said.

He added that Rosoboronexport was in strategic partnership talks with Italy's Fiat and France's Renault. The arms exporter will choose a strategic partner before the end of the year, according to Chemezov. The partner will be offered to buy 25% + 1 share in AVTOVAZ. "We value the whole company at about $4 billion," he said.

AVTOVAZ, based in Togliatti, was registered on 5 January 1993. In 2007, it expects to produce 959,700 automobiles and assembly sets, including 125,000 Lada Kalina cars, over 210,000 Lada Samaras, 35,000 Lada 4х4s and 8,000 Lada 112 Coupes.

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