By Darya Korsunskaya
MOSCOW, April 19 Russia's government commission on foreign investment has turned down U.S. group Abbott Laboratories' request to buy Russian vaccine maker Petrovax, the head of Russia's competition regulator said on Friday.
"The commission has reviewed the question about the sale to U.S. company Abbott of Petrovax Pharm. As a result of very lengthy discussion the U.S. company was denied to make this deal," Igor Artemyev, head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS), told reporters.
Artemyev said the decision was made in order to protect the country's national security interests and took into account international experience.
He added the government would consider including vaccine production in its list of so-called strategic sectors deemed to be important to to national security, which would imply restrictions on foreign ownership.
"The commission's decision is not a decision against the Abbott company and even more so not against the United States. This is a decision of a strategic character," said Artemyev.
Abbott Laboratories applied for permission to buy Petrovax last year and according to media reports the deal was valued at $280 million.
A spokeswoman for Abbott, Irina Gushchina, said the company had not received any official information regarding the state of its application.
"We understand that the Russian Governmental Commission on Control of Foreign Investments is meeting today. We have not received any official information on the outcome of the meeting," she said, declining to comment further.