2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
A study commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs came to the conclusion that none of the bidding concepts could save Opel. Now the Opel works council boss is attacking the economics minister.
The ailing car manufacturer Opel could still go into bankruptcy at the end of the month-long bidding contest. Opel works council boss Klaus Franz said on Saturday that a new report on the future viability of the company suggests that the Ministry of Economic Affairs wants to initiate this path.
According to the "Financial Times Deutschland" (FTD), the study on behalf of the ministry came to a devastating result. After that, Opel could not be maintained as an independent brand in the long term with any of the three investor offers. Important decisions are expected in the coming week.
Franz criticized the report: "Here the suspicion is that German tax money is being used to deliberately drive Opel into bankruptcy," he said. The Opel works council had always rejected bankruptcy as a way to start over, partly because the car buyers' trust in the brand could then collapse.
Federal Minister of Economics Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (CSU) had brought this option into play again and again. In the event of bankruptcy, General Motors would practically no longer have a say.
Hardly any prospects for Opel
According to the "FTD", the report by the investment bank Lazard states: "The consultants see little prospect in all three offers for Opel as an independent car manufacturer." The required size is hardly achievable, the paper quotes from the "strictly confidential" document.
The Opel Treuhandgesellschaft emphasized in a statement on Saturday that it had not yet decided on a provider for Opel. Rather, the Opel parent company General Motors (GM) will conduct further negotiations with the consortium around the Canadian-Austrian supplier Magna and the financial investor RHJ International. An offer from China, on the other hand, is already out of the running. Opel-Treuhand is to participate in the sale of 65 percent of General Motors' European business.
Magna or RHJ International?
"We as a trust company feel obliged to obtain the opinions of all those involved in the ongoing process," said the chairman of the trust advisory board, Fred Irwin. "We will only make our decision when the necessary prerequisites and a decision-ready template are available." Previously, the federal government, the federal states and the Opel works council had clearly spoken out in favor of Magna, whereas GM preferred the concept of the financial investor RHJ International.
General Motors itself had gone bankrupt under US law. In the process, shareholders and creditors lost a large part of their investments, and General Motors is now trying to start over free of old debts.
State loans and guarantees
According to information from the news magazine “Der Spiegel”, the climate in the negotiations between the German government and General Motors has deteriorated further. After several unsuccessful rounds of negotiations, State Secretary for Economic Affairs Jochen Homann made it clear in a letter to GM negotiator John Smith that loans and guarantees from the state were subject to conditions. Among other things, the future owner must guarantee that Opel will be retained as an independent brand over the long term.
Previously, it had repeatedly been speculated that General Motors wanted to have Opel rehabilitated with state aid and then buy back the car maker cheaply. "It looks as if GM wants to leave the dirty work to RHJI and then want to buy back into the restructured company," criticized the Bochum Opel works council boss Rainer Einenkel in the industry newspaper "Automobilwoche".
A decision on Opel could be made in the coming week. "It will be an eventful week for sure," said Franz. But he does not yet know whether an investor will already be awarded the contract. "We need an investor where we have a long-term future, where we have access to global markets, where we have a high degree of independence," emphasized Franz. (Dpa)
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