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Germany will not decide on Opel aid at Wed. meeting, minister says

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Germany will not decide on Opel aid at Wed. meeting, minister says


and Wire Reports

Automotive News Europe -- March 23, 2010 14:31 CET

Germany's Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle said no decision over German state aid to General Motors Co.'s Opel unit will be made at a meeting of state and federal officials on Wednesday.

Bruederle said debate will take place and questions will be answered at the meeting of officials who review loan guarantee requests. Asked if a decision would be taken at the meeting, he said: "No. It is just an advisory body."

Any decison on state aid was likely to be made by senior members of the government in conjunction with states affected by Opel's restructuring, Bruederle said.

GM is seeking 1.8 billion euros from countries with Opel/Vauxhall plants towards the cost of restructuring the unit to make it profitable by 2012. So far the UK has pledged 300 million euros.

GM is seeking about 1 billion euros from Germany where Opel and half of GM's European workforce are based.

The U.S. automaker said earlier this month it would provide 1.9 billion euros ($2.6 billion) in equity and loans to Opel, tripling its funding and cutting its request for state aid in a bid to win over European governments and labor.

Opel plans to cut 8,300 job in factories across Europe, close its factory in Antwerp, Belgium, and reduce capacity by 20 percent.

Germany has been cool to the idea of giving taxpayer funds into Opel after GM decided to keep Opel instead of selling it to Manga International Inc, Berlin's preferred Opel bidder.German politicians have demanded guarantees that Opel aid will not be diverted to GM in the U.S.

Bruederle said on Tuesday that the loan guarantee committee must first establish whether German government officials find responses submitted by the company sufficient before further decisions can be made.

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