ANNOUNCEMENT 09 Sep 2009In September 2009, the government of Germany announced changed rules for foreign investors.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
Driving Conversations. (6 August 2009). Opel Update. Available at http://drivingconversations.gmblogs.com/2009/08/opel-update.html
Driving Conversations. (28 July 2009). UPDATE: Clearing the Air. Available at http://drivingconversations.gmblogs.com/2009/07/clearing-the-air.html
Financial Times. (28 May 2009). Anger over German role in GM shake-out.
Financial Times. (4 July 2009). Mandelson signals loan move to help GM spin off European car plants.
Financial Times. (13 July 2009). RHJ vows to put Opel in profit by 2011.
Financial Times. (4 August 2009). GM resists pressure for hasty Magna deal.
Financial Times. (7 August 2009). RHJ to ease conditions on Opel offer.
Financial Times. (10 September 2009). GM opts for Magna in Opel deal.
Financial Times. (14 September 2009). Belgian leaders seek Kroes talks.
Financial Times. (16 September 2009). GM chief defends Opel sale decision.
Financial Times. (22 September 2009). Germany to escape brunt of Opel job cuts.
Financial Times. (29 September 2009). EU watchdog urges quick action on Opel.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. (21 September 2009). Opel will in Europa 11.000 Stellen streichen.
General Motors. (30 September 2009). GM employees in Europe. Retrieved on 30 September 2009 at http://www.gm.com/europe/corporate/about/employees/
Handelsblatt. (29 July 2009). Koch wirft GM.
Handelsblatt. (3 August 2009). Opel-Poker: Politiker erh?hen Druck.
Sueddeutsche Zeitung. (3 August 2009). Appelle nach Detroit.
The Wall Street Journal. (23 July 2009). Differences emerge on buyer for Opel.
Wirtschaftswoche. (1 August 2009). Deutschland ist nicht erpressbar.
The process of selling GM's European arm Opel/Vauxhall appears to have been influenced by state-advanced considerations that could come at the expense of trading partners. Readers are cautioned, however, that as the offers of the remaining bidders (Magna International Inc./Sberbank and RHJ International) as well as a government-funded study (by the investment Bank Lazards Ltd.) on the viability of these bids remain unpublished, a definitive evaluation is not possible at this stage. The paragraphs below summarize the key aspects of the sale process including descriptions of the two bids and reported reactions of parties involved.
On 9 September 2009, General Motors announced its decision to sell its European operations to Magna/Sberbank under the conditions specified above. According to a German government insider, "alternatives to Magna were either too expensive or damaging' for GM. While German politicians strongly welcomed GM's decision, Manfred Wennemer, the government's representative on the trust board of Opel, publicly voiced concern over the viability of the solution.
After the sale, reports on the new owners' restructuring plans described the international distribution of the 10,500 job cuts to be unproportional. According to the press, 1,373 British jobs will be cut, 2,090 in Spain, 2,584 in Belgium and 4,116 in Germany. If the reported figures are correct, British workers would bear 13 percent of total layoffs while constituting9 percent of GM Europe's work force. For Belgians, these figures are 25 and 5 percent, for Spain they are 20 and 13 percent and for Germany they are 39 and 46 percent respectively.
Belgian and British officials have voiced opposition to German claims on job and plant guarantees. European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said she would investigate the allegations.
GM Europe currently has employees in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.