SolarWorld makes €1-billion Opel bid

SolarWorld makes €1-billion Opel bid
Will the Opel bolt soon mean electric cars? Photo: DPA
German solar energy company SolarWorld has prepared an offer for the four German auto factories owned by Opel, a division of US giant General Motors, worth €1 billion ($1.26 billion).

The solar panel maker, which aims to “turn Opel into the first ‘green’ European auto company,” said on Wednesday it would offer €250 million in cash and €750 million in the form of a bank credit under certain condition.

SolarWorld expects Opel to split completely from GM, which is threatened with bankruptcy, and wants compensation payments of €40,000 per Opel worker, which would total roughly €1 billion, the statement added. It did not say who it expected to pay the compensation.

Opel was not in a position to immediately give a reaction, a spokeswoman told AFP. SolarWorld said it would continue to produce Opel cars in the plants, and would develop “a new generation of low-emission and energy-saving automobiles.” SolarWorld employs 2,000 workers, while Opel’s German staff numbers around 26,000.

“The European development centre in Rüsselsheim is already working on solutions for electric cars like the Volt,” SolarWorld said. “By restructuring the product range, the storied German carmaker would in the future offer in particular electric and hybrid cars, as well as new types of technologies.”

Shares in the solar panel maker plunged by 15.22 percent to €13.6 in midday trading on Frankfurt’s TecDax index of high-technology issues.

The German automaker has been hit by slumping sales and financial problems at its parent company, and has asked the German government for loan guarantees in the event it can no longer obtain financing from GM.

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