Today in Russian Business – August 14, 2009

Following stalls in negotiations, Magna and Sberbank have modified the terms of their agreement to buy Opel, and are now apparently confident that GM Motors will be able to accept their offer.  To see a timeline of events in the Opel-Magna saga, check Reuters.  Russia and Lithuania have apparently settled their dispute over vehicle checks, after Russia banned the import of dairy produce from four Lithuanian companies.  Iceland has denied reports that it rejected a loan from Russia, and states that talks are ‘still underway’.  VTB chief Andrei Kostin was granted permission by Vladimir Putin to take a week’s holiday after the bank head said the company was on track to enlarge its loan portfolio by $3.14 billion in three months.  Automobile manufacturer IzhAvto has filed for bankruptcy, which leaves 5,000 employees uncertain of work.  The Molot factory, which is a main location for the assembly of Kalashvikov rifles, has put a halt to production due to an inability to meet debts.  According to a poll, Russians suffered more during the 1998 crisis than they are during the current one, with 40% claiming they have not been affected, against 26% who said the same in 1998.