MOSCOW, March 31 (Reuters) - Russian companies are eyeing a stake in France’s Altis Semiconductor in what could be a step towards diversifying and modernising an oil-dependent economy, Vedomosti business daily reported on Wednesday.
One of Russia’s state corporations could announce the purchase of the French electronic components maker soon, a source close to the deal told Vedomosti.
Two other sources said Rosnano -- tasked with developing nanotechnology -- was interested.
Such a deal would fit Russia’s drive, spearheaded by President Dmitry Medvedev, to reduce its dependence on oil and commodity exports, and develop the technology sector.
The need for diversification was underlined by the global financial crisis, which saw Russia hit harder than its emerging market peers as demand and prices for its exports collapsed.
Privately owned telecoms-to-oil conglomerate AFK Sistema (SSAq.L), which last year considered a stake in Infineon itself [ID:nLDE5BE02C], is also interested in Altis, a top manager of a Russian electronics producer told Vedomosti.
Sistema, Infineon and Altis did not comment, when contacted by Vedomosti, it said.
Altis had sales of 450 million euros ($607.9 million) in 2005 and employs around 2,000 people, according to the latest data listed on its website (www.altissemiconductor.com). (Writing by Toni Vorobyova, Editing by Ian Geoghegan)