With bankruptcy on the horizon, Germany and the US are in the last chance saloon to save Opel. The two governments have set a deadline later today to come up with a credible rescue deal to save the General Motors subsidiary.
Angela Merkel’s team had hoped for an agreement on Wednesday. But German participants described first round talks as a ‘disaster’ after GM negotiators demanded extra cash to fill a gaping funding hole.
Meanwhile, car giant Fiat says it will not be taking part into today’s meeting in Berlin. The Italian suitor has indicated it still wants to buy GM’s European wing but says it has nothing more to bring to the table. That may give Opel’s other potential bidder, Canadian car-parts maker Magna, the edge to clinch a deal.
Founded by Austrian emigre Frank Stronach in a Toronto garage nearly half a century ago, it remains the preferred choice for many in the German government. While not ruling out a joint venture with Fiat, Magna did itself no harm on Wednesday after offering to stump up some of the money being demanded by GM.
The position of the American parent company in Detroit looks increasingly vunerable. It is almost certain to file for bankruptcy protection, to give it time to restructure with the help of the US treasury.
EU ministers will also meet today to discuss Opel’s future.
Time running out for Opel