13 Oct 2009 14:25

Date of agreement signing for share packet in Opel still has not been set

MOSCOW. Oct 13 (Interfax) - The signing of an agreement for Sberbank and Magna's purchase of a controlling stake in the concern Opel has still not been set.

"I still do not know [the timing]. When we go out to sign then we will announce it," Sberbank President and Chairman German Gref told journalists on Tuesday.

Financial Times earlier cited an announcement from the chairman of Opel's employee union in Germany, Klaus Franz, that the transaction will take place this week.

"It is good that you said that as I did not know about it," Gref said when asked to comment of Franz's statement. "The Germans are not signing anything therefore they are saying that."

He declined to comment on whether the requirements of Spain and Britain would be considered in the transaction since Opel has operations in those countries.

Gref also said that Russian industrial partner has still not been selected for Opel.

On October 1, the CEO of Magna International, Siegfried Wolf, said that the agreement would be signed in "the coming days" and that the sides were now looking a technical issues. He added that no issues remained regarding access to intellectual property in regards to this deal. Wolf cited Russia's GAZ group as a possible industrial partner.

At the end of September, the board of directors at General Motors, which owns Opel, decided to sell 55% of the shares in the German firm to Magna and Sberbank. As a result, 35% of the shares in Opel would stay with GM and 10% among its employees.

Initially, GM was against the deal with the Russo-Canadian consortium and supported its competitor RHJ. The German government actively lobbied for the transaction with Magna and Sberbank. The deal also received the support of Germany's unions since they expected the lowest amount of layoffs in this case.