MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia's Sberbank is studying an offer to take part in a bidding process for German carmaker Opel, the bank's CEO said on Friday.
"We are in the process of studying all the financial documentation involved in our possible participation in the deal," German Gref told reporters.
"Our interests in the deal are determined by the interests of the Russian Federation."
Sberbank had been identified by German media as a possible partner for Canadian/Austrian auto parts manufacturer Magna International if it bids for the General Motors' European operations, which center around Opel. Fiat is also a possible bidder.
Indebted Russian carmaker GAZ confirmed reports this week that it would be interested in a potential joint venture with Opel.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin first mentioned that Magna approached both GAZ and Russian banks regarding a joint bid in an interview published May 10.
Analysts say GAZ's contribution would likely be limited to the use of its Russian production facility because of its strained finances.
Sberbank itself, flush with the majority of Russians' deposits as the former state retail banking monopoly but struggling with rising bad loans, may decide to shore up its balance sheet this year, Sberbank officials said.
Sberbank's chief financial officer said the bank could go ahead with a planned capital raising as early as the second half of 2009.
"The shareholders meeting will look at increasing authorized shares up to 15 billion and will give the board the right to decide whether to issue them," CFO Anton Karamzin said.