Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said the deal giving the state-owned Sberbank a stake in General Motor’s Opel must be woven into an overall strategy to develop the Russian car industry.
Although the Kremlin has no direct involvement in the arrangement, Putin welcomed the involvement of Russia’s biggest bank. “The Russian government has a strategy to develop the car industry and this deal we are talking about must be incorporated into the strategy to develop that industry,” said Putin. Last week Sberbank gained a 35 percent share in Opel as part of a plan to save the company. The German government agreed to provide loan guarantees in return for capital injections and stakes in the European division of General Motors. Canada’s Magna International obtained 20 percent. But the political fallout from the decision to pick the Magna-Sberbank offer over a proposition by Italy’s Fiat has led to political fallout – both from within the German government and also Italy’s Finance Minister.