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Chinese could spoil Magna-Opel deal

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Chinese could spoil Magna-Opel deal
Photo: DPA
11:47 CEST+02:00
Canadian auto parts maker Magna seemed to get the green light to buy troubled carmaker Opel, but a report Thursday said a Chinese company is preparing a serious bid for the General Motors division.

The state-owned Beijing Automotive Industry Corp. (BAIC) has gotten permission to examine Opel's financial records, according to a story first published Thursday in the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

BAIC is reportedly conducting due diligence before finalising its purchase offer to the investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort, which is handling details of the sale.

A Chinese delegation, including BAIC chairman Xu Heyi is planning to visit Germany within the next two weeks to meet union officials, politicians and works council representatives, according to the FAZ.

Magna hopes to buy a 55 percent stake in Opel and other General Motors European operations with the assistance of the state-owned Russian bank Sberbank.

The German government had announced May 30 that it selected Magna and Sberbank to buy Opel with €6 billion worth of government loans and loan guarantees. But the final details of a deal are still being worked out and papers have been signed and German government officials have said they were open to competing offers.

BAIC had expressed interest in Opel, but missed the deadline to make a comprehensive bid. The government is likely to welcome the Chinese offer as it will probably, at a minimum, force Magna to sweeten its offer for Opel. Magna had promised to keep layoffs within Germany to 2,600 workers and not close any of Opel's facilities in Germany.

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