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Opel rescue summit planned for Tuesday

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Opel rescue summit planned for Tuesday
Photo:DPA
10:12 CET+01:00
German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück has called for a meeting between managers at carmaker Opel and the leaders of German states where the car maker has major production centres after the GM unit asked for help from the government.

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Steinbrück said late on Friday night from Washington where he is taking part in the world finance summit.

“We are dealing with it, that is right,” he said.

Opel became the first German car manufacturer to call for help on Friday when it approached the federal and state governments asking for state loan guarantees.

Rhineland-Palatinate minister president Kurt Beck said he thought Opel needed around a €1 billion in guarantees, while his North Rhine-Westphalia counterpart Jürgen Rüttgers told this weekend's Welt am Sonntag newspaper he supported state help for the car industry.

“We will not let Opel go under… North Rhine-Westphalia will put forward guarantees along with the other states and the federal government,” he said, adding other help would be needed to keep the car industry afloat, but did not elaborate on what this might be.

The company has plants in these two states as well as Thuringia and Hesse.

Hesse state premier Roland Koch says his government will offer half a billion in guarantees, and that this will be processed on Wednesday.

This will affect not just Opel but its suppliers too, which together employ 50,000 people in Hesse alone.

Beck told ZDF's news programme Heute on Friday evening that he had already spoken with the other state premiers of affected states and they were prepared to offer up to 40 percent of the guarantees, if the rest was met by the federal government.

Opel boss Hans Demant has stressed that the request for guarantees was only for the "theoretical case" that finance flows from the USA dry up.

There Opel's US owner General Motors recently warned of a possible bankruptcy after recording a loss of billions and a collapse in turnover.

There are reports of supply problems in the USA with some insurers refusing to cover costs for parts supply, leading GM and Ford to rely on payment up front or hopes that suppliers might deliver without guarantee of payment.

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