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Magna boss promises firewalls between Opel, supply business

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Magna boss promises firewalls between Opel, supply business

SEPTEMBER 11, 2009 08:31 CET

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- Canadian supplier Magna International Inc. reiterated a promised to ringfence its Opel operations once it takes control of the General Motors Co. carmaking unit.

"As soon as the takeover is successfully completed, Magna will erect appropriate firewalls to guarantee a complete separation of its current automotive supplier business and Opel, so that confidential customer information remains completely protected," Magna founder and Chairman Frank Stronach said in a statement.

Magna co-CEOs Siegfried Wolf and Don Walker made similar promises earlier this summer.

GM's board has agreed to sell Magna and its Russian partner, Sberbank, a 55 percent stake in Opel in a deal that is supposed to close by the end of November.

Some Magna customers, including Volkswagen AG, Europe's largest automaker, have expressed concern about the potential conflict of interest the deal poses as Magna continues to supply Opel rivals.

GM agreed to sell the majority stake in Opel to the group led by Magna after months of tough negotiations for a business unit that employs 50,000 workers in Europe.

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