Author`s name Alex Naumov

Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska buys 5 percent stake in General Motors

Oleg Deripaska, the owner of Russia’s biggest aluminium maker, has acquired a stake in General Motors of just under 5 per cent, say two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The Russian tycoon’s stake in the world’s largest car company, worth more than $900m at Tuesday’s share price, is said to be a personal investment and unrelated to Gaz, the vehicle manufacturer he controls.

Mr Deripaska, named Russia’s second-richest man by Forbes magazine, acquired the shares last year.

“He has a stake in GM which he acquired some time ago,” said one of the people, who declined to be identified.

“It’s a strategic investment on his part and unrelated to Basic Element [Mr Deripaska’s holding company].”

The investment has not been discussed officially within Gaz’s management.

Renee Rashid-Merem, a spokeswoman for GM, said the US carmaker did not comment on its stockholders.

However, she said that there had been no relevant filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which would be required for any investor seeking to buy 5 per cent or more of GM. Basic Element declined to comment.

Mr Deripaska owns the aluminium giant, United Company Rusal, and recently invested $1.54bn in a large stake of Magna, the Canadian car parts and vehicle assembly company.

News of his GM investment is likely to excite speculation about the carmaker, which is in the middle of restructuring but last month reported unexpectedly strong quarterly earnings, reports.

A spokesman for Deripaska, Russia's second richest man with a fortune last estimated by Forbes Magazine at $16.8 billion, declined to comment on the report.

A five percent stake in GM at Monday's closing price of $32.45 per share would have cost Deripaska around $900 million.

Five percent is the level at which Deripaska would have to declare the stake, the newspaper said.

Deripaska's Basic Element company agreed in May to invest $1.54 billion in Canadian auto parts supplier Magna. His business group has denied being interested in the Jaguar and Land Rover brands put up for sale by Ford Motor Co.

GM is in the middle of a wide restructuring that includes cutting more than 34,000 jobs and closing 12 plants in North America, Reuters reports.

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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