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Berlin talking to more possible Opel bidders

Berlin talking to more possible Opel bidders
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First Published: Thu, Jun 11 2009. 02 53 PM IST
Updated: Thu, Jun 11 2009. 02 53 PM IST
Berlin: Germany is still talking to potential investors in carmaker Opel which have not been made public, German economy minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said on Thursday.
Germany reached a preliminary agreement with Canadian auto parts group Magna last month over a takeover plan for Opel, General Motors’ European unit.
However, the government has since stressed nothing has been finalised and rival suitors cannot be ruled out.
“We are still in contact with other investors,” said Guttenberg at a joint news conference with British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson in Berlin.
“(Chinese automaker) BAIC for example ... and others that I will not speak about here.”
Guttenberg added he believed Italian automaker Fiat SpA also still had its eye on Opel.
Roland Berger, a well-known German consultant who sits on Fiat’s board of directors and who had been tasked by GM to help find an investor for Opel, said in a newspaper interview on Thursday Fiat could still be in the running for Opel.
“Fiat’s industrial plan is the best and most attractive plan because it would have created a global group with pan-European roots that would be very strong,” he told Corriere della Sera. “This is not the last word.”
Mandelson confirmed Britain was prepared to offer financial support for the plan to rescue Opel, which includes UK unit Vauxhall, although he did not give any details.
“We have to be satisfied not only with the viability of the company going forward, we also have to be satisfied ... that what is finally agreed offers value for money to the British taxpayer,” he said.
Vauxhall employs 5,000 workers at plants in Luton, north of London, and Ellesmere Port in northwest England.
British unions have accused their government of allowing the fate of General Motors’ European operations to be decided in Germany and of not doing enough to protect nearly British jobs.
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First Published: Thu, Jun 11 2009. 02 53 PM IST