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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Shuvalov: Renault Will Invest More in AvtoVAZ

MOSCOW — Renault has confirmed its willingness to invest in AvtoVAZ, the troubled automaker in which it owns a 25 percent stake, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said on Tuesday.

Shuvalov told a news conference that the amount to be invested by Renault would be determined after AvtoVAZ, Russia's largest car maker and producer of the Lada, unveils its investment program.

"They [Renault] confirmed that they have a strategic interest in AvtoVAZ's development, and they are prepared to invest in the company's growth," Shuvalov said.

Shuvalov made the remarks at a news conference where he outlined Russia's strategy for the domestic automotive sector to 2020. He said the entire sector was about 100 billion rubles ($3.3 billion) in debt.

Renault paid more than $1 billion for its stake in AvtoVAZ two years ago, when Russia looked set to overtake Germany as Europe's largest car market, but recession has sharply reduced Russian car sales this year.

Shuvalov and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin held separate meetings on Monday with Renault senior vice president Christian Esteve. Putin said after his meeting that Russia had pledged more funds to help restructure AvtoVAZ.

Putin also delivered an ultimatum to Renault on Friday to either help finance AvtoVAZ or see its 25 percent stake reduced.

AvtoVAZ has said it will have to cut 27,600 jobs, about a quarter of the staff at its plant in the city of Tolyatti.

Russian business daily Kommersant reported on Tuesday that AvtoVAZ needed 70 billion rubles ($2.33 billion) to stay afloat.