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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Siberian Aluminum Team to Run Automaker GAZ

Reflecting Siberian Aluminum's new status as the largest shareholder in the nation's No. 2 automaker GAZ, Viktor Belyayev, vice president of the aluminum firm, has been appointed general director of the Nizhny Novgorod automaker.

Siberian Aluminum managers are to take over all day-to-day operations at the plant while the authority of GAZ president Nikolai Pugin is to be reduced to strategic issues.

Five Siberian Aluminum representatives were appointed to the 30-member GAZ board of directors at a Wednesday board meeting when a general shareholders meeting was called for Jan. 20.

Siberian Aluminum, which became part of the Russian Aluminum holding earlier this year, seems serious about working in the car manufacturing business. Earlier this year it bought a major stake in the Pavlovsky Avtobus plant.

Recently Siberian Aluminum assembled a blocking stake in GAZ. Staff changes at GAZ were the result of an agreement with the factory's management and Nizhegorod region authorities.

Pugin on Wednesday appointed Belyayev vice president of the factory. Prior to his moving into the aluminum business, Belyayev was first deputy general director at truck maker KamAZ.

Four other Siberian Aluminum representatives were included in the factory's administration as executive directors. They are Svetlana Sokolova, responsible for the financial and economic sector; Arkady Sarkisyan, to answer for general issues including safety and communications with social organizations; Viktor Maslennikov, sales; and Fanis Khasanov, parts purchases.

Siberian Aluminum's press secretary said the meeting of shareholders scheduled for January must change the company's charter, elect a new board of directors and establish a new management hierarchy at the factory.

The second-largest GAZ shareholder as well as the main financial partner of the plant is still Avtobank. The 13 percent of GAZ shares that it owns are mortgaged under a Central Bank credit that was received in 1999 and has yet to be repaid.

Yury Teplov, deputy head of Avtobank, said at the press conference in Nizhny Novgorod that the bank had no plans to sell its stake.

Teplov said Avtobank is positive about the prospects for cooperation with Siberian Aluminum.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is also interested in the fate of GAZ. The factory has not paid back a $65 million credit.

Teplov said that the possibility of paying the debt with a further issue of GAZ shares was still being considered.