Senior German ministers are preparing to decide which of the three bidders for the struggling car-maker Opel will get the government’s backing.
The Canadian-Austrian group Magna appeared to impress ministers most. But in election year, the politicians are being cautious. Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said none of the three has been ruled out but added: “I cannot accept giving away taxpayers’ money with a great risk of losing it. It’s unimaginable, and that’s why we have to keep an organised insolvency as an option.” Germany’s Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Magna’s was the only sustainable bid on offer. Its plan revolves around keeping all four German Opel plants working, albeit with some job losses. “I am sure that if we do the right thing, and don’t give Opel away for nothing to the first buyer who comes along, if we look for the right project, then Opel has a future,” Steinmeier said. Ministers are studying an improved bid by the Italian giant Fiat, to see if the promises in it are viable. But time is running out. Opel’s parent General Motors is facing possible bankruptcy in America next week.