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Germany insists right to choose Opel's buyer
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08:30, July 30, 2009

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The German government stressed its right in choosing Opel's buyer on Wednesday, further increasing the risk of this trans-Atlantic deal.

A successful bid needs the supports of Germany's federal government and the four states where Opel has plants because without German aid "the sale can not be sustainable," Ulrich Wilhelm, Merkel's chief spokesman said in Berlin.

"An agreement reached by GM with one of the two remaining investors would not be enough," Wilhelm said. "Federal and state governments have to be in a position to support such an agreement."

However, the current German government's preferred buyer is Magna International Inc., while GM's preferred buyer was RHJ International SA, founded by Timothy C. Collins, as its bid is a simpler solution for the U.S. carmaker.

The German government stressed its right in Opel's buyer choosing because Merkel's government wants to secure more jobs before September elections, according to the local media reports.

The labor unions also prefer Magna and 22,000 jobs may be cut around Europe if Opel was sold to RHJ International SA. Analysts hope Merkel can start talks with the U.S. government as quickly as possible, as the two governments are the real owners of GM and Opel.

Opel is now owned by a German government-backed trust, protecting it from Detroit-based GM's June 1 bankruptcy filing in the United States. Germany's proposed 1.5-billion-euro-loan to ease Opel's sale can last until the end of November.


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