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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

GM should pay to fix Opel, top German minister says

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GM should pay to fix Opel, top German minister says

NOVEMBER 12, 2009 06:01 CET

BERLIN (Reuters) -- German Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle gave General Motors Co. little hope Wednesday that it will get state aid to restructure Opel.

"I expressed my expectation that General Motors should basically carry out the financing itself," Bruederle said after meeting with Nick Reilly, interim head of GM's European business, and John Smith, another GM executive.

Bruederle said that GM executives told him the carmaker needs 3.3 billion euros ($4.9 billion) for its plans to fix Opel, which has half of its 50,000 employees in Germany.

Bruederle said that the GM executives apologized over communication failures related to their decision not to go ahead with a planned sale of Opel to Canadian car parts supplier Magna International Inc. and its partner, Russian lender Sberbank.

GM executives said they would present their restructuring plan for Opel soon, he added.

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I'm really starting to think that this is going to turn into a big catfight between GM and the German government. They really wanted Magna to take over for some reason, and now that they aren't the officials are acting childish.

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