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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Siemens Decision Seen Soon

President Vladimir Putin has told Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov to make a decision by April 20 on Siemens' plans to take over engineering company Siloviye Mashiny, or Power Machines, Vedomosti reported Monday.

The deadline was set in a letter to Fradkov from Alexander Beglov, head of the Kremlin's auditing department, Vedomosti said, citing the letter. Last month, Fradkov asked Putin to delay a ruling until Russia passes a law on foreign ownership in defense enterprises, the newspaper said.

Siemens' proposal to buy more than 70 percent of Siloviye Mashiny from industrial group Interros came to light last year after German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder visited Russia.

No comment was immediately available from Siemens' office in Moscow or from the Kremlin.

It was unclear from the Vedomosti article whether the Kremlin's drive to settle the issue quickly necessarily meant that Putin had decided to approve the German takeover.

Putin initially backed the move. But media have reported that the president changed his mind after learning that Siloviye Mashiny produced vital components for the domestic defense industry.

A number of government officials, buoyed by Putin's apparent indecision, have publicly denounced the sale, saying it would undermine national security.

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska's Basic Element has also said it was interested in buying Siloviye.

(Bloomberg, Reuters)