As the German government got closer to a decision on who it will back to take over Opel, the bidders for the car maker were told by Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg that they must significantly improve their offers.
Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck insisted no favourite has yet emerged: “The government hasn’t decided on any preferred bidder yet. It’s quite possible, though, that such a preferred bidder might emerge during our talks tonight. We have agreed within the government that we will study all offers fairly.”
As well the bids from Italy’s Fiat, Canadian-Austrian parts maker Magna and Belgium-listed industrial holdings firm RHJ International, the German government meeting could also consider interest expressed by China’s Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings.
And for the first time the British government has been heard from on the fate of Opel’s sister brand Vauxhall.
Reportedly Business Secretary Peter Mandelson has spoken to senior GM executives to make clear “the UK’s commitment to all of Vauxhall’s plants” and has “not ruled out” financial help to save UK factories which employ 5,000 people.