26 May 2018 12:40

Avtovaz still buying metal from Rusal, but mulling alternative suppliers

ST. PETERSBURG. May 26 (Interfax) - Avtovaz is still buying metal from aluminum giant UC Rusal but in the event it cannot continue to do so it is looking for alternative suppliers, the car maker's president, Nicolas Maure, told reporters in St. Petersburg.

"We have about 30 export markets and we do not see any risks [for vehicle supplies to them] as none of them have close ties in the United States. But there are suppliers who could be affected by sanctions, for example Rusal," Maure said.

"Rusal is a good supplier which we would like to retain," he said. "I know that efforts are under way to ease the sanctions against Rusal, but we are looking at the market to find alternatives if the need arises," he said.

"The situation will be clarified in the next couple of months. For now there are no problems with supplies from Rusal. But if there is no other option [and we cannot buy metal from the Russian company] we'll have to start getting it from others, both in Russia and abroad," he said.

On the company's other sanctions-related issues, Maure said the company was in talks to supply cars to Iran. "Iran is a very big market, and opens up good opportunities for the Lada brand, we only have to cross the Caspian Sea," he said.

Exports to EU countries will fall due to new environmental requirements there. "We plan to offset this by selling to new markets, we'll be looking for lucrative niches. The volume of exports this year should better than last," Maure said, adding that Africa, the East and Latin America were promising markets.

Oleg Deripaska and companies under his control were hit by U.S. sanctions on April 6. The U.S. Treasury Department later suggested sanctions on aluminum giant Rusal and automobile producer GAZ might be eased if Deripaska scales down his ownership of those companies. Deripaska left the board of directors at Rusal on May 25.