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AutoBlog: REPORT: Opel, waiting on GM and the German government, heading toward bankruptcy

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Filed under: Europe, Plants/Manufacturing, GM, Opel, UAW/Unions


There are five noteworthy parties involved in the negotiations over Opel's fate: GM, the German government, the Opel trust, states with Opel manufacturing plants, and the Opel labor union. The Opel trust is the body created to run Opel after GM's bankruptcy, and consists of five members: a chairman, a representative for the German states with Opel plants, a representative for the German government, and both the CFO and chief negotiator for GM Europe. Got all that?

At this point Opel's future looks to have three possible trajectories: a sale to Magna, a sale to Belgian investment bank RHJ, or bankruptcy. Beijing Automotive also bid on Opel but it hasn't been mentioned in any recent discussions. The negotiating parties, however, haven't come to a decision on which future is the best for the German brand.

GM is still negotiating with Magna, but Magna apparently made promises to its Russian backers -- Sberbank and GAZ -- regarding "intellectual property and [GM's] Russian operations that simply could not be implemented." GM says it doesn't have a preferred bidder, but it's working with Magna to make the Austrian company's bid acceptable. The German states' rep on the Opel trust, and labor are said to prefer Magna win.

On the other hand, the German government rep is said to prefer the offer from RHJ or letting Opel declare insolvency. GM's negotiator said the RHJ tender is "a much simpler structure and would be easier to implement." The hitch could be that the German government's financial assistance to Opel is dependent on a the new buyer having a long term plan for the company and saving German jobs. Those aren't the kinds of terms usually associated with investment banks. According to one German premiere, though, a "clear decision" on Opel should come next week.

[source: Bloomberg]

REPORT: Opel, waiting on GM and the German government, heading toward bankruptcy originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 03 Aug 2009 09:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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