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Czech PPF Group to buy 51% in Russian electronics retailer -paper

MOSCOW, January 26 (RIA Novosti) - The owner of the Russian electronics retailer Eldorado and the PPF Group agreed last week on transferring a 51% stake in the retailer to the Czech company, a business paper reported on Monday.

Friday's deal will see the writing off a $500 million loan extended by PPF to the retailer in September 2008 against the pledge of 51% of Eldorado's shares, Vedomosti reported, referring to a PPF source.

In the fall of 2008, the parties agreed that the Czech group had the right to demand the return of the money or to convert it into a controlling stake, the paper said.

Igor Yakovlev, the owner of Eldorado, is selling a controlling stake in the company as Eldorado is experiencing serious problems, Vedomosti said.

Eldorado ran into difficulties a year ago when tax authorities presented tax claims worth 15 billion rubles ($455 million) to the company for 2004-2005. The tax claims were linked to Eldorado's wholesale operations. At the same time, banks demanded that the company prematurely repay $400 million in loans, the paper said.

Due to this, the retailer's suppliers suspended supplies of goods while Eldorado failed to challenge the tax claims in a court of law.

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