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Banks

Sberbank shareholders ask for clarity in Opel deal

MOSCOW, May 12 (Reuters) - Minority shareholders of Russia's Sberbank SBER03.MM have asked management to clarify any potential returns from its reported bid for a stake in German carmaker Opel, a shareholder committee official told Reuters on Tuesday.

Canadian auto-parts maker Magna MGa.TO announced plans to take over Opel and Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia's carmaker GAZ GAZA.RTS and some financial institutions were invited to join. [ID:nLA362143]

German media said state-controlled Sberbank was also involved in the talks, which could be part of a plan to create a car giant producing up to 5 million vehicles a year.

“Unofficially Sberbank’s management has said they were far from a final decision and the parameters of a possible deal were not clear yet,” said the official, who declined to be named.

GAZ said on Tuesday it would be interested in creating a joint venture with Magna and Opel should the later be acquired by a group of investors. [ID:nLC777542]

“We would like to understand a projected return on this investment,” the official said. Sberbank, Russia’s top bank, declined to comment. GM Europe, the current owner of Opel, has said $1.2 billion worth of cost cuts could help Opel return to profit by 2011.

GM's planned sale of Opel has pitted Fiat FIA.MI against Magna and both companies have reportedly presented proposals to the German government.

Sberbank’s supervisory board will meet May 15 to finalise the agenda for annual shareholders meeting which will take place June 26, and a source close to Sberbank said the bid could be discussed in the “miscellaneous” section. (Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva and Dmitry Sergeyev; editing by Mike Nesbit)

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