Maritime representatives in Belgium confirm a Chinese investor has expressed an interest in taking over General Motors' Opel plant in Antwerp, as the Port Authority looks to acquire the land from the US automaker.

GM is in the process of winding down production at the Antwerp site with the loss of 1,250 jobs by the end of the year, but the Port Authority is anxious to acquire the 900,000 sq m of land on which the manufacturing facility lies.

"Yes, we are making a bid [but] there is no timetable as the closing of the plant is not finalised yet," an Antwerp Port Authority spokeswoman told just-auto from Belgium.

"The situation of GM within the Port is an extraordinary [one] meaning the Antwerp Port Authority is the owner of 90% of the land."

The Authority's enthusiasm to acquire the land stems from the fact that territory is extremely scarce to come by, with the spokeswoman insisting it would find a partner to develop industrial activities "for sure because there is so little space."

Despite the identity of any Chinese investor - and Opel's previous scepticism surrounding any potential business plan emanating from it - remaining unknown-  the Port Authority said it would welcome any approach.

"We have heard there is a Chinese investor - that is no secret," she said. "Since the Chinese are so interested, that is why the procedure is not finished yet - we let the people do all the things they must do in order to save the future of the plant in Antwerp."

"If that means the plant can still exist and if that means that employment can saved, of course we are happy to have a Chinese investor."

The spokeswoman added the Authority's main concern was GM should continue its activities on the site, but conceded it would be "living in dreams" if that was the first option.

A bid timetable from the Port Authority now depends on when GM finally informs it the Antwerp site is closed. The manufacturer has previously indicated this would be by year-end.

just-auto spoke to a representative claiming to be from the Chinese investor today (9 December) with further details expected later.

Union says GM has no interest in future Antwerp car production