1 Dec 2022 12:11

Avtovaz ready to buy RN Bank before year's end, secures board approval - CEO

ST. PETERSBURG. Dec 1 (Interfax) - Avtovaz is ready to acquire the assets of the Renault-Nissan Alliance's Russian bank, RN Bank, this year, as the Russian carmaker's board of directors has authorized this, Avtovaz CEO Maxim Sokolov told reporters on the sidelines of the Russian Industrialist forum.

Avtovaz received permission on Wednesday to buy BARN B.V., the holding company through RN Bank is owned by Unicreditbank, French automaker Renault and Japan's Nissan, with stakes of 40%, 30% and 30%, respectively. The relevant order was signed by President Vladimir Putin on November 29.

"If we move fast, I would close this deal before the end of the year, we're ready. This possibility has already been approved by the board. Going forward we need to carry out the necessary corporate procedures, naturally, signing a corresponding agreement. Now this depends more on our partners, because they also have to carry out their own corporate procedures," Sokolov said, commenting on when the transaction might be closed.

He said Avtovaz needs a captive bank to work with dealers, carry out factoring and work with government support programs, including subsidized lending and leasing, as well as financing dealerships, their development and support for their operations.

"The bank's business is fairly stable and profitable, so this acquisition is a good asset. Avtovaz actually had a bank within its structure in Soviet times that was called Avtovazbank. Moving RN Bank within the perimeter of Avtovaz's business is a completely logical step in the development of our company. Essentially, we are proceeding along the path of collecting the assets of the Renault-Nissan Alliance that are located in Russia," Sokolov said.

UniCredit is considering exiting Russia. The Italian group's CEO, Andrea Orcel said in a conference call with analysts in July that there was interest in the group's Russian division, Unicredit Bank, from countries that have not imposed sanctions against Russia. However, Unicredit does not intend to sell the division at any price, he said.

RN Bank is focused on auto loans and factoring finance for auto dealers. The bank was ranked 56th in Russia by assets at the end of 2021, with 116.2 billion rubles, according to the Interfax-100 ranking. The bank's capital stood at 27 billion rubles at the end of 2021.