Today in Russian Business – September 14, 2010

A boost to the long-term development of the car industry?: Oleg Deripaska has bagged Siegfried Wolf, co-chief executive of Canadian auto-parts maker Magna International, and backer of the failed Magna-Opel bid for GM, as the new board chairman at Russian Machines, Basic Element’s automotive division.  Apparently the government may increase transport tax on older automobiles in order to stimulate purchasing of new models.  As Russia gears up for a privatization drive with its first major asset sale since the 1990s, Reuters questions how much interest the sales will attract.  One could point to the news that major private equity firm TPG Capital is apparently near to acquiring a 10% stake in bank VTB, one of the prime institutions with parts up for grabs, as evidence that there may be some takers.  In the Financial Times, Charles Clover explains how the average Russian’s fondness for exercising purchase power is opening up credit lines which could lead to a surge in spending.  Former business partners Mikhail Prokhorov and Vladimir Potanin have concluded the lengthy process of dividing their assets, with the split of developer Open Investments, in which Prokhorov’s stake will increase by 40%.