Germany has struck a landmark deal with Canadian-Austrian car parts group Magna to save Opel from the imminent bankruptcy of its US parent company General Motors.
A six hour meeting at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office in Berlin ended in an agreement to free up one and a half billion euros of funding. German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrüeck said: “I can tell you that a solution has been found to keep Opel open. What the new investor now needs to address is the financing and the finance managing. But everybody we spoke to and consulted confirmed to us that this company builds excellent cars, also, in light of market perspectives which exist worldwide.” Magna, which is backed by the Russian bank Sperbank and oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s truckmaking firm Gaz, has pledged to provide between 500 and 700 million euros to help secure Opel’s future. Siegfried Wolf the co-Chief Executive Officer of Magna said: “We will, and I want to stress that again, preserve all the German Opel locations, and are keen to have talks with all the states where Opel has factories in the next few weeks and are confident to be able to find solutions to preserve jobs, because every job that is lost is one too many.” Before the deal was reached Magna said it would have to shed 2,500 jobs in Germany, that is 10 per cent of Opel’s workforce there. About half of GM Europe’s 50,000 workers are employed in Germany, with significant numbers in Poland, Belgium and the UK where Opel cars are branded as Vauxhall for British customers.