September 20, 2018 / 4:20 PM / in 8 months

Russia may protect Deripaska's GAZ by shunning rivals for state purchases

MOSCOW, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Russia is considering supporting sanctions-hit Russian Machines, which owns 61 percent of vehicle maker GAZ, by restricting government purchases from its rivals in the country.

Russian Machines is owned by businessman Oleg Deripaska whom Washington imposed sanctions on in April, including companies in which he is a large shareholder. The sanctions are in response to what the United States called Russia’s “malign activities”.

In a proposal published on a government website for draft orders, Russia’s industry ministry suggested that state customers only purchase machinery products produced by GAZ.

GAZ declined to comment. Its two main rivals in Russia are Kamaz and Sollers. Kamaz declined to comment and Sollers did not reply to a request for comment.

The list of products covered by the proposal includes buses, ambulance and police cars, construction and road machinery among other things. The ministry suggested giving priority to eleven companies which are all part of Russian Machines and GAZ group. (Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; writing by Polina Devitt; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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