MOSCOW (Reuters) – French carmaker Renault could adjust the size of its 25 percent stake in Russia's AvtoVAZ if asked by the Russian government, CEO Carlos Ghosn said on Monday.
Renault bought its AvtoVAZ stake for $1 billion in 2008, but the company's bet on a fast-growing Russian market fell apart as car sales halved during the recent economic crisis.
AvtoVAZ had to be rescued by the state as it came close to collapsing under mammoth debts, raising questions about whether Renault would unload its stake.
"If this 25 percent stake is to change, it is not up to us. It is up to the Russian government to ask us about it, and then we will reconsider," Ghosn told Reuters Insider in an interview ahead of talks with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
When asked if the stake in the maker of the Lada could be sold within the next two years, he replied, "No."
Ghosn later met Putin at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport. The summit was unusual in that it saw Russia's most influential politician leave the city centre to meet a foreign executive, rather than summon him to the White House.
After the meeting, Putin said the government would review its strategy to develop the car industry this week, while Ghosn reiterated his confidence in AvtoVAZ.