GM willing to give Opel away

Troubled US carmaker General Motors is reportedly prepared to give away its German unit Opel to potential investors who would inject at least €500 million into its operations.

GM willing to give Opel away
Photo: DPA

The Financial Times Deutschland said on Monday officials at GM would prefer to hand over Opel for nothing rather than transfer the money necessary to keep it afloat. This would also have the benefit of keeping GM as a minority shareholder in Opel, enabling the US carmaker to continue its close development and production with the Germans.

That GM would even consider handing over a majority stake of Opel for nothing shows just how hard the search for a private investor has been, the paper reported.

GM boss Fritz Henderson said on Friday that negotiations with six investors expressing serious interest in Opel would be concluded by early May.

“The issue should be finished in the next two to three weeks,” he said according to the FTD.

Most auto industry experts do not consider Opel and its British counterpart Vauxhall to be big enough to function as independent European carmakers without outside help.

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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.