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Germany issues Opel assurance

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Germany issues Opel assurance

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With still no date fixed for the signing of the deal for GM to sell Opel and Vauxhall, the German government has issued an assurance that its offer of 4.5 billion euros in financial aid for Opel is not linked to any particular investor or plan.

That followed concerns expressed by the European Commission that the promised aid was dependent on Canadian car parts maker Magna and its Russian state-owned partner Sberbank being selected to buy Opel. Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes pointed out that would be in breach of strict EU state aid and internal market rules. Kroes said GM and the trust that controls Opel should be given the chance to reconsider their decision, based on a written assurance from Berlin that there are no conditions attached to the aid – conditions such as not closing plants in Germany. Magna and Sberbank are the only serious buyers. The other final bidder, investment company RHJ International, has said it is no longer interested in Opel having instead agreed to buy UK wealth management firm Kleinwort Benson from Commerzbank.