State officials discuss splitting Opel from GM

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State officials discuss splitting Opel from GM
photo: DPA

German state governments are working to split car manufacturer Opel from the ailing US parent General Motors, daily Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Monday.


“We cannot carry on like this with GM, the only prospect is disentanglement,” Klaus Franz, head of the Opel workers’ council, told the paper.

One possible scenario for rescuing the traditional German automaker is for the states of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW), Hesse and Thuringia - in which Opel has factories - to take on a share in the company as the state of Lower Saxony did in taking on 20 percent of Volkswagen, the paper reported.

Talks between Opel and GM over a possible separation have been running for several weeks in Düsseldorf, according to the paper, which added that Opel was also trying to gain access to its own technologies because patents are currently with a subsidiary of the US firm.

But some state politicians have offered other alternatives because the European Commission is keen to abolish the so-called VW law, which allegedly violates EU treaty provisions by allowing Lower Saxony to shield the car maker from takeovers.

NRW state premiere Jürgen Rüttgers recently suggested a German-wide fund which could take a share in companies with key significance for the economy during emergencies, the paper said. Other politicians have said the move would be impractical.

“A state share in Opel is not feasible - it would be a suicide mission for taxpayers,” head of the pro-business Free Democrats in the NRW State Parliament, Gerhard Papke, told the paper, referring to difficulties faced by the 720,000 small businesses in the state. “Should the state take a stake in them too?”


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