Deal with Uzbekistan goes sour; GM plant in Russia still up for sale (Exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, July 18

By Fikret Dolukhanov – Trend:

General Motors Corporation (GM) offered the Uzbek automaker Uzavtosanoat JSC to buy out the factory in St. Petersburg, while the Uzbek side expected to have the enterprise on lease, or contract the assembly of cars, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation told Trend.

The ministry noted that earlier the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov offered the Uzbek side to organize in Russia production of class A cars - Spark (R2), class MPV - Damas and class D - Malibu.

Later on, by mediation of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, negotiations were held between the Uzavtosanoat and GM companies concerning the possibility of signing a Special Investment Contract (SPIC) on organizing assembly of cars at the GM factory in St. Petersburg. The negotiations have not yielded any results.

Earlier, the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation refused to comment on the information on the plans of the Uzbek automobile holding to sign the SPIC with the Russian side, referring to the fact that the matter is in the competence of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia.

In turn, the Committee on Industrial Policy and Innovation of St. Petersburg told Trend that they do not have information on Uzavtosanoat's plans to sign a SPIC on assembly of cars at the GM factory in St. Petersburg.

The Committee, however, noted that such a possibility was discussed earlier at the level of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

On the other hand, the representative of the Committee confirmed interest to the GM plant in Petersburg from the German BMW and the Belarusian Unison automakers.

“The Committee on Industrial Policy and Innovations of St. Petersburg held negotiations with representatives of listed companies. The final decision has not yet been made,” the source said.

The Belarusian company didn't provide Trend with comments on the course of the talks with the Russian side, referring to the existing confidentiality agreement. BMW, on their part, said that they consider Kaliningrad as a possible place for construction of a future factory in Russia.

Russian media agency Kommersant recently reported that the factory's capacities are now offered to the American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @FDolukhanov

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