Mercedes-Benz secures loophole for possible Russia return

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The auto manufacturer included a buyback option in its deal with the government to sell its assets

German auto giant Mercedes-Benz has received approval from the Russian government for the sale of its assets in the country, the carmaker announced on Wednesday. The buyer has been identified as local car dealer chain, Avtodom.

Mercedes also confirmed that the contract includes a buyback clause, which gives the company the right to return to the country and reclaim its business in the future.

The completion of the transaction is now particularly subject to the implementation of the contractual agreements. We strive for a quick implementation. We have agreed an option with the buyer, according to which we could buy back the shares in companies if the sanctions are lifted again,” Mercedes said in a statement, as cited by Reuters.

The carmaker’s assets in Russia, which will pass to the new owner, include the Mercedes-Benz plant in Moscow Region and Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Rus LLC, a car leasing and insurance company. On Wednesday, Avtodom said that the deal with Mercedes-Benz had not yet been finalized, and that it was working with government agencies to speed up the process.

Mercedes suspended manufacturing in Russia in early March last year, shortly after the start of the military conflict in Ukraine. In October, it announced it would divest from Russia, pressured to do so by Western sanctions which jeopardized the future of its business operations in the country.

Several other automakers have also sold their assets in Russia over the past year, and a number of them have also opted for buyback clauses, including France’s Renault, Japan’s Nissan, and Germany’s Volkswagen.

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