Russian auto maker Avtovaz sees return to profit this year

11th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russian automaker Avtovaz should return to operational profit this year after suffering a loss of nearly a billion euros in 2009, company head Igor Komorov said Friday.

"We have to produce one and a half times more vehicles this year than last in order to record an operating profit," Komorov told journalists during a visit to Paris by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

"At the start of the year everyone said that wasn't realistic ... but at the moment, we will produce and sell more vehicles than had been planned," adding that the performance should result in an operating profit.

Avtovaz last year turned out 300,000 vehicles and is expected to make 450,000 this year. About 370,000 vehicles were sold in 2009.

Avtovaz, which makes the famed Lada model, sold 169,000 vehicles in the first five months of the year, Komorov said, a gain of 12 percent compared with the same period last year in an overall Russian market where sales rose 10 percent.

Avtovaz, 25 percent owned by French auto maker Renault, took a heavy hit during the financial crisis and needed the commitment of 50 billion rubles (1.58 billion dollars, 1.31 billion euros) in state funds.

The Russian government has on several occasions urged Renault to boost its stake but the French group has said it is not interested in such a step.

© 2010 AFP

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