After much wrangling, Volkswagen is on the verge of selling its plant in Kaluga, Russia. As confirmed in business circles, the responsible government commission in Moscow has agreed to hand over the plant to the Russian car dealership group Avilon. Although the last signatures are still missing, Wolfsburg is confident that they will be able to conclude the deal this week. According to information from the F.A.Z., the deal could be announced on Friday.

Christian Müßgens

Business correspondent in Hamburg.

  • Follow I follow

In corporate circles, there is talk of a three-digit million sum that VW will receive for the Kaluga site and the other assets of Volkswagen Group Rus. The Russian agency Interfax speaks of 125 million euros, although the exact value is difficult to verify. The fact that such figures are coming into the world on the Russian side is probably due to the fact that money flows of this size abroad have to be released by Russian authorities.

The core of the transaction is the plant in Kaluga. Since commissioning in 2007, VW had invested more than one billion euros in the site, so the loss in the course of the sale is considerable. It also includes financing transactions of the Scania truck brand. The holding company Traton, to which Scania belongs, had sold this to the parent company VW in January.

No buyback option

At last count, 4000 people worked at the plant in Kaluga. Since the buyer does not produce Avilon himself, he will cooperate with partners. It is expected that the Chinese will produce in Kaluga from now on. VW has not secured a buyback option, according to the group. In doing so, the Wolfsburg-based company is proceeding differently than Mercedes, which is keeping the door open for a return to a certain extent and can take back its Russian subsidiaries within a certain period of time.

The withdrawal of Western automakers from Russia had recently caused a slump in vehicle production in the country. According to the AEB business association, only 2022,687 new vehicles were sold in 000. In the previous year, the figure had been around 1.7 million. In the meantime, some plants have been taken over by Russian investors, often at a symbolic price and with a buyback option. Last summer, for example, the French car company Renault handed over its majority stake in Avtovaz, manufacturer of the Lada brand, to the Russian state for one euro.

VW had already decided last year to part with the Kaluga site. The process then took longer than expected, partly because a competing bidder, the Russian Gaz Group, torpedoed the sale to Avilon with a lawsuit. Gaz is in contact with the Austrian entrepreneur Siegfried Wolf, who is also taking over the plant of the Upper Franconian supplier Schaeffler in Russia. The lawsuit was later dismissed, with Avilon prevailing as the buyer.