By the middle of this week we should know who will take over Opel and Vauxhall.
The German government plans to hold a final round of talks with prospective bidders Fiat, Magna and RHJ International before deciding which is preferred. Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that pressure is building to choose an investor ahead of the US government’s June 1st restructuring deadline for Opel’s owner GM. Merkel explained with GM likely to go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection then the situation would get complicated: “The German interest lies in having the separation and legal aspects done before that. Because of these issues, Opel is in a special situation: even if an investor is found and says ‘I want it’ it wouldn’t be legally possible in such a short period of time because the paperwork will take quite a long time to sort out.” Fiat’s boss Sergio Marchionne, who is expected to meet Merkel in Berlin this week, has been forced to back down over job cuts and plant closures, which – in an election year – the German government is most concerned about. British unions have expressed fears that whoever wins the Vauxhall plants in the UK are the most vulnerable to closure.