Renault agrees to buy AvtoVaz stake

March 1, 2008 at 10:53 AM

MOSCOW, March 1 (UPI) -- French carmaker Renault has agreed to buy a minority stake in Russia's AvtoVaz, the company said.

Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said he would pay more than $1 billion for a 25 percent plus one share stake in AvtoVaz, which makes the Lada brand, EuroNews reported Saturday.

Russia's automotive market is reportedly booming, with incomes among middle-class Russians growing. Analysts predict Russia will overtake Germany as Europe's biggest car market this year, EuroNews said.

U.S. automaker General Motors and Italy's Fiat also expressed interest in the AvtoVaz stake.

AvtoVaz is seeking to sell a quarter of its shares to help the company double production by 2014 and modernize its manufacturing plant along the Volga River.

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