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GM says Opel talks to continue with RHJ, Magna
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10:11, July 24, 2009

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BERLIN/FRANKFURT: General Motors' European business said yesterday it had agreed to continue detailed talks with both Magna and RHJ International on its German unit Opel.

GM has been considering three final offers for Opel submitted on Monday by Magna, RHJ and Chinese carmaker BAIC. It did not mention BAIC in yesterday's statement on further talks.

GM and German government officials failed to agree on a partner for Opel at talks held on Wednesday to discuss the offers.

"We had a good and thoughtful discussion around the key operating metrics and key issues associated with the three final offers we received on Monday evening," John Smith, GM's chief negotiator for the sale of Opel, said in the statement.

"We have agreed to continue detailed talks with both Magna and RHJ to secure Opel's future," he added.

Other people involved in the negotiations over Opel's future said Germany's representatives on a trust that could decide the local carmaker's fate do not share their government's preference for Canada's Magna to be its partner.

The endgame of the battle for control of Opel will play out in the Opel Trust, which has been responsible for Opel since GM entered bankruptcy in June, if the German government, which is being asked to provide the carmaker with loan guarantees, and 35-percent shareholder GM cannot agree on an investor. The Trust holds 65 percent of Opel shares.

Sources close to the negotiations said GM officials at the talks clearly supported a rival offer from Belgium-based financial investor RHJ and saw no basis for agreeing to Magna being Opel's partner.

"They just talked down Magna," said one source.

The Opel Trust's board is comprised of two General Motors representatives and two for Germany, one for Berlin and a delegate for the four federal states in which Opel has a plant. A fifth "neutral" board member has no vote.

Source:China Daily/Agencies

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