Opel sale to Magna coming soon, says GM

Opel sale to Magna coming soon, says GM
Photo: DPA
The sale of Opel to Austrian-Canadian parts maker Magna should happen soon, the head of General Motors Europe said in an interview with the FAZ to be published in the newspaper’s Sunday edition.

“It’s only about the details,” said Carl-Peter Forster, GM Europe chief. “After the meeting between the heads of GM and Magna, I am extremely confident a comprehensive agreement can be reached.”

Opel employs approximately 26,000 workers in Germany and over 50,000 throughout Europe. The company is currently operating under the trusteeship of the German government with a €1.5 billion bridge loan to keep it solvent. The German government stepped in shortly before the American portion of General Motors declared bankruptcy in June.

In recent days, speculation has increased that other bidders, including the Chinese firm BAIC and the Ripplewood private equity fund, might be gaining ground with their attempts to wrestle control of Opel away from Magna, which has been the German government’s preferred buyer.

Magna’s bid is being financed by the state-owned Russian bank Sberbank. GM would retain a minority stake in the new company.

Magna has promised to keep Opel’s four German factories open and to limit layoffs in Germany to around 2,600 positions. In total, Magna says it will need to cut 11,000 Opel jobs across Europe to make the new company viable.

Forster would not confirm when a deal would be completed but said he hoped the papers could be signed by mid-July.

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