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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Exclusive: Top Russian carmaker Avtovaz considering delisting from Moscow Exchange – sources

MOSCOW/PARIS (Reuters) – Russia’s largest carmaker Avtovaz is considering a delisting from the Moscow Exchange after a secondary share offering later this year, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The move would allow Avtovaz, majority-owned by French car giant Renault and its alliance partner Nissan, to stop disclosing financial results and reduce costs after being hit by the collapse of Russia’s once-booming auto industry, where annual vehicle sales have more than halved since 2012.

Both sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential matters, said the purchase of a 24.1 percent stake in Avtovaz by Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital late last year was part of the delisting plan.

The sources, one close to Avtovaz’s management and another who has been briefed by senior shareholders, declined to give further details on the bank’s involvement, explain why it was needed, or say why Avtovaz management wanted to delist.

Rencap’s stake purchase was part of a larger recapitalisation plan for the loss-making Lada maker, which posted a net loss of 44.8 billion roubles ($ 785.96 million) in 2016.

Avtovaz now plans to offer investors 9.25 billion shares priced at 10.3 roubles each in a second issuing later this year. The shares will be placed via a closed subscription with Alliance Rostec Auto B.V., a holding company jointly owned by Renault-Nissan and Russian state conglomerate Rostec, as a potential buyer.

Avtovaz, Rencap and Rostec declined to comment.

A Renault spokeswoman said: “This is not on the agenda. Our focus for now is the ongoing capital restructuring of Avtovaz.” The company declined further comment.

($ 1 = 57.0000 roubles)

(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Jack Stubbs in Moscow, Laurence Frost in Paris; Writing by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Katya Golubkova and Louise Heavens)

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