2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
The 26,000 Opel employees must continue to fear: the federal government, states as well as potential investors and representatives of the US government have not been able to agree on state bridge financing or a trust model for Opel.
The 26,000 Opel employees in Germany must continue to fear: the federal government, states, potential investors and representatives of the US government were unable to agree on state bridge financing or a trust model for Opel at a top meeting in the Berlin Chancellery. A solution is now being sought for this Friday.
Criticism of the US government
On Thursday morning after the eight and a half hour negotiations, representatives of the federal and state governments sharply criticized the conduct of the negotiations by the US government. The Americans made new demands right at the beginning of the talks. The bidding race for Opel is now only decided between Fiat and Magna. The US financial investor Ripplewood is no longer in the game. A Chinese company had recently shown interest.
The Opel parent company General Motors (GM) reported an additional liquidity requirement for Opel of 300 million euros. So far, there has been talk of a bridging loan from the federal government, states and banks of 1.5 billion euros. The potential investors would also have to rework, it was said after the meeting, in which the CEOs of the Italian Fiat group and the Canadian-Austrian supplier Magna also took part.
Faced with new numbers
Economics Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (CSU) criticized that Berlin had been confronted with new numbers and surprises. Further demands were made on the US Treasury Department. Answers are expected by Friday. An Opel insolvency is still in the room in the event that collateral is missing. The risk of failure of the financial aid must remain low.
Occasionally one had wondered about the conduct of negotiations "one or the other guest", said Guttenberg. "We can already state that the Treasury (US Treasury Department) could have done a little more trouble when it comes to choosing their representatives," said a visibly angry economics minister.
Solutions are now being hoped for on Friday that would at least offer perspective, Guttenberg said. "We do not yet have the securities we need to be able to secure bridge financing today."
Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück (SPD) called it surprising that GM had announced a “considerably higher” financial requirement and announced a short-term payment date. This was a “certain imposition”. According to his information, negotiations will only continue with Magna and Fiat. Both would now have to do more homework. The US financial investor Ripplewood was "voted out".
Participants said that the federal and state governments are increasingly favoring Magna. According to the Prime Minister of Hesse, Roland Koch (CDU), the supplier has responded to demands from North Rhine-Westphalia to aim for fewer staff reductions in Bochum through new car projects than previously planned. Compulsory redundancies should be avoided. According to Guttenberg, Magna and Fiat have the same opportunities. A bilateral letter of intent had been received from the Chinese company BAIC, which could be expanded.
Steinbrück also called the previous collateral for a bridging loan insufficient. Magna wants to help solve the additional financial requirements. "What this investor has presented there seems to me to be very attractive." The prerequisite is that the trust agreement is in place and the collateral can be transferred, Steinbrück said. It must also be clear to which account a bridging loan can be transferred. The money should not flow out of Germany.
Koch said a large part of the problems in the top round was caused by the new numbers from GM and "a not very helpful way of negotiating the American side." He emphasized that bridging finance should not be pointless. "That means that there is a perspective for an investor at the end of time."
Bochum's works council satisfied
The upper limit of 1.5 billion euros agreed between the federal and state governments will definitely be retained. GM now has to deal with the gap. "Not every responsibility of General Motors can be borne by the federal and state governments." Magna founder Frank Stronach confirmed the great interest of his company in joining Opel together with Russian partners and leading the car manufacturer to a global brand.
The head of the works council at the Bochum Opel plant, Rainer Einenkel, said he was positive about the top Opel meeting last night in Berlin. "It is important that the politicians are ready to help," said Einenkel of the German press agency dpa on Thursday in Bochum. It is important that the potential investor Magna has improved its concept, which concerns the initially planned job cuts in Germany and especially in Bochum. "That was the minimum requirement that there would be no redundancies." One must now hope that this will be confirmed in the course of further negotiations. (dpa)