4 Sep 2009 10:24

Sberbank may get two seats on GAZ board

MOSCOW. Sept 4 (Interfax) - Sberbank Russia may receive two seats on the board of directors of Russian auto maker GAZ , a source on the board told Interfax.

GAZ shareholders will consider the candidacies of Sberbank Deputy CEO Yevgeny Korolev and CEO German Gref at an extraordinary meeting on September 7. "It's just a guess, but its very likely that both of them will join the board," the source said, adding that the Sberbank executives would provide representation on the board for GAZ's creditors.

GAZ has proposed restructuring 44 billion rubles in debt, making repayment due in five years with principal payments deferred for two years and a six-month grace period for interest payments.

At the end of August GAZ's former general director, Sergei Zanozin, said that GAZ was agreeing a restructuring with the main opponent of the plan, Alfa Bank and that a restructuring agreement would be signed by all creditors before September. That has not happened.

It was reported earlier that over a third of GAZ's debt is held by the big state banks. Its private bank creditors include Alfa, Kommerzbank, Petrokommerts , Raiffeisenbank, Uralsib and others.

Sberbank's Gref has already said that his bank has agreed to restructure GAZ debt.

"We agreed to restructure the debt and are ready to persuade the remaining creditors to hear our position. They must not be bankrupted," Gref said.

GAZ is a member of the consortium together with Magna and Sberbank on purchase of a controlling stake in GM's Opel division.