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The logo of French tire maker Michelin, in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, on Aug. 6, 2022.SARAH MEYSSONNIER/Reuters

French tire maker Michelin has shelved plans to sell its Russian business to its local management and is now in discussions with a local player, a company spokesperson said on Thursday, adding Michelin hoped to reach an agreement “soon”.

The first Western tire maker to enter Russia in 2004, Michelin announced suspension of its industrial activity in Russia in March 2022, soon after Moscow had invaded Ukraine. It later said it planned to hand over its Russian activities to a new entity under local management by the end of the year.

“We are now discussing a purchase by a local player...We dropped the idea of a purchase by local management because this was too complex,” the spokesperson said without naming the potential buyer.

A slew of companies have announced plans to stop doing business in Russia but many have found the actual asset unwinding process complex and costly.

Russian daily Kommersant reported on Tuesday that Michelin’s factory in the Moscow region with production capacity of 1.5 million-2 million tires a year will be sold to Power International-shiny, a Russian tire distributor, in a deal which is now close to completion.