23 de mayo de 2009

"OPEL & the Chinese Auto Maker: a Posible Bid?"

General Motors Corp. has received an expression of interest in its Opel and Vauxhall European operations from a Chinese auto maker, but a person familiar with the matter said the U.S. auto maker most likely won't pursue getting a bid from the Chinese concern.

A letter expressing interest in buying the operations was received Thursday, the person said, one day after the bid deadline, and didn't include a specific offer for the Opel and Vauxhall units. GM already has solid bids from three parties and the process is too far along to consider a fourth offer, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

It wasn't immediately clear who the Chinese auto maker was, but the person said it was neither Geely Holding Group nor Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp. He said the letter came from a relatively well-known auto maker in China, but didn't elaborate. Italy's FiatSpA has submitted a formal offer for Opel and Vauxhall. It plans to integrate GM's European, Latin American and South African operations into a global alliance with its own auto unit and Chrysler LLC.

Austrian-Canadian auto parts supplier Magna International Inc. and Russian car manufacturer Gaz Russia have jointly submitted a bid. On Friday, the governors of several German states weighed in on Magna's bid. The govenors of Hesse and Thuringia each said they favored Magna's bid for Opel.

There is an "interesting bid on the table," Hesse's governor, Roland Koch, told reporters at the sidelines of an event in Berlin. Thuringia's governor, Dieter Althaus, also voiced support for Magna's bid. However, the governor of North Rhine Westphalia, Juergen Ruettgers, said he won't support Magna's bid, citing its plans for significant job cuts. Mr. Ruettgers said that under Magna's plan about 10,000 jobs would be lost, including 2,200 jobs at Opel's Bochum plant, which is located in North Rhine Westphalia. He said insolvancy wasn't discussed at the Berlin meeting, adding: "We must save Opel."

RHJ International, a European buyout firm with holdings in the auto-parts industry, has also submitted a bid. General Motors is selling GM Europe, which includes Opel in Germany, as well as Vauxhall in the U.K. and Saab in Sweden, to raise cash. Saab is being sold in a separate process.

The German government and the states of Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Thuringia and Rhineland Palatinate, which are home to Opel plants, are considering bridge financing for Opel to keep it operating if GM files for bankruptcy protection before Opel can be sold

German Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said Friday that all options are still open for GM's Opel operations, including insolvency. He also described Magna's bid as "interesting," but added that some financial details still require clarification as the German state is expected to support the deal with taxpayer's money.

German economics ministry spokesman Steffen Moritz told reporters Friday that it is up to GM to decide which investor it favors before the government can assess any offer. On Friday, Fiat tried to quell talk that its offer would lead to massive layoffs in Germany. "For quite some time, incorrect information has circulated that, should Fiat's offer for Opel be accepted, it would result in 18,000 job cuts," Fiat said in a statement. "This information is totally false."

Fiat's plan calls for a decrease in staff, "distributed across Europe and spread out over time, of a total number less than 10,000," it said. "The impact in Germany would therefore be relatively lower than this number."

0 comentarios:

Ideas Libérrimas - 2008 -