If General Motors files for bankruptcy at the end of the month before reaching a solution for its Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary in Europe, the German government will press for a trustee arrangement for the company, economy minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has said.

He told reporters today (18 May) he expected to send a delegation to the US at the end of this week to discuss plans. A trustee would protect Opel's assets from creditors until another investor takes over.

Companies interested in taking an Opel stake have until Wednesday to submit  proposals. GM has said that it would be willing to be a minority stakeholder in any new company formed to run Opel and Vauxhall.

Fiat and Magna International are expected to submit proposals while RHJ, the European arm of US private equity firm Ripplewood, has also had  access to Opel's books though it was not clear if it would submit a bid.

Guttenberg said he was optimistic the trustee plan would be acceptable although it had met some resistance in Detroit and Washington.

A trustee arrangement would give Opel access to bridging finance from a consortium of banks.