Fiat will not attend the meeting to save Opel scheduled by the federal government this afternoon. The head of the Italian car maker, Sergio Marchionne, said he was unable to come up with a takeover proposal that was fair for Fiat and Opel parent company General Motors (GM). He had not been able to get a full insight into Opel’s books. His group could not take extraordinary risks because of an emergency. In principle, however, one is open to further discussions with everyone involved.
Even Magna before the exit?
According to Marchionne’s statements, the Austrian-Canadian supplier Magna is now likely to remain the only serious prospect for Opel in the race. Representatives from Magna and GM have been negotiating in Berlin since early this morning. But Magna is also about to exit, according to reports from "Bild.de" and "suddeutsche.de". The reason: The Americans kept making new demands.
In contrast to Fiat, Magna had already offered the one at the Crisis meeting on Thursday surprisingly emerged funding gap of 300 million euros at GM to stuff. After the crisis meeting, Fiat and Magna were the last interested Opel buyers, the US financial group Ripplewood and the Chinese bidder BAIC had already left.
Deadline until 2 p.m.
The federal government has given those interested in Opel and the US negotiating partners a deadline of early afternoon. A letter of intent signed by investors, GM and the US government should be available by 2:00 p.m. It should offer the security that Opel will have a future even after bridging funding from the German state.
In order to at least save Opel from the impending bankruptcy and thus have more time for negotiations, the federal government is ready to guarantee a bridging loan of 1.5 billion euros. With the new demand from GM, this loan would grow to at least 1.8 billion euros.
Merkel does not rule out bankruptcy
Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel is not ruling out the possibility of Opel going bankrupt. Merkel said to the news magazine "Spiegel": "We are doing everything we can to find another solution." However, direct participation by the state is not an option. Economics minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg had come under fire because he had repeatedly brought up an "orderly bankruptcy" of the car manufacturer.
Special meeting of the affected EU states
The German government’s planned Opel rescue operation is causing unrest in the European Union. The EU Commission asked Germany and Great Britain to comply with EU law with billions in taxpayers’ money to save the traditional brands Opel and Vauxhall. Belgium in particular is concerned that rescue operations could be at the expense of the Opel plant in Antwerp.
At the request of Belgium, the authority called a special meeting of the EU countries affected by the impending GM bankruptcy for the afternoon. Germany is represented by the State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Peter Hintze, because Minister of Economic Affairs Guttenberg is attending the crisis meeting in the Chancellery.