(This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine)
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian government on Wednesday said it had approved a deal for Spain's Inditex to sell its Russian business to a UAE-based buyer, with some of its former stores to reopen under new branding in April and May.
Inditex shuttered its more than 500 Russian stores after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine, and agreed to sell them in October, although small-scale imports and online sellers are helping to keep Inditex's brands alive in Russia.
Inditex did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company previously said it had agreed to transfer 245 of its 514 shops to UAE-based Daher Group, while others would close. It has said that the new brands opening in Russia would be totally different from Inditex brands.
Russian exits by Western companies have been complicated as deals involving firms from so-called unfriendly countries - those that imposed sanctions against Russia - need approval from a government commission. Companies often insert buyback clauses that could one day see them return.
Russia's industry and trade ministry said the government commission that monitors foreign investment had approved the sale of 100% of shares in Novaya Moda, Inditex's Russian unit, on March 30.
"The buyers of Inditex's business, including Zara shops, in Russia was Fashion and More Management DMCC, with an office in one of the friendly countries," the ministry said.
Fashion and More Management DMCC was registered in the DMCC (Dubai Multi Commodities Center) register of companies on Jan. 25. Its licence manager is Hassan Ghaleb Daher.
"The price of the deal was not disclosed. Inditex Group will hand over all its currently held retail sites in Russia to the new owners. The shops will open under new names: MAAG, DUB, ECRU, VILET," the ministry said. "Collections with new labels have already been sown and delivered to Russia."
(Reporting by Alexander Marrow, Olga Popova and Gleb Stolyarov; additional reporting by Lisa Barrington in Dubai; Editing by Jane Merriman)