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Britain to guarantee loan to GM, Vauxhall operations to keep running

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Britain to guarantee loan to GM, Vauxhall operations to keep running


LONDON -- Britain will give a $410-million loan guarantee to General Motors to help keep its Vauxhall operations going in the country, a government official said Friday.

That is well short of the $2.8 billion GM is seeking from European governments to help restructure Vauxhall and its other European unit, Germany-based Opel.

British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson said that talks were ongoing with GM Europe and other European governments to finalize the funding terms and the implementation of a business plan.

Mandelson said the two Vauxhall factories in Britain are "excellent plants employing a first-rate workforce."

"We need Vauxhall to thrive as part of Britain's automotive manufacturing base and following our negotiations with GM Europe, I am confident it will do so," he added.

Union leaders representing workers at the plants in Luton, north of London, and Ellesmere Port in northern England, welcomed the announcement.

"This is great news for British industry," said Tony Woodley, joint leader of the Unite union. "The loan will help save thousands of jobs in Vauxhall's operations and in the 400 companies in its supply chain."

GM abandoned a plan to sell the majority of Opel and Vauxhall to investors late last year, instead choosing to keep the European brands for itself.

It said last week it would triple its own funding for Opel and Vauxhall and reduced the amount it was seeking from European governments after it became apparent they were unlikely to deliver the initially requested amount.



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