Weekend talks between Brussels-based industrial holding company RHJ International and General Motors Europe are expected to produce a revised offer by tomorrow (14 July) for GM’s Opel and Vauxhall units.
GM and Magna International signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding in May and set a self-imposed 15 July deadline to finalise a deal for Magna and Russia’s Sberbank to acquire a 55% stake in Opel and Vauxhall.
But problems over a number of issues, including intellectual property rights and Chevrolet brand distribution in Russia, have delayed the agreement, encouraging RHJ to submit a revised offer.
RHJ said it would need EUR3.8bn (US$5.3bn) in loan guarantees from Berlin instead of the EUR4.5bn that Magna wants. RHJ said it wanted a stake of between 51-55% in Opel and would guarantee to keep factories open.
Magna’s bid has been supported by trade unions in Germany as well as central and regional governments but GM is worried that Magna is using its partnership with Sberbank and political support in Germany and Russia to extract too many concessions. GM is also in talks with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding after the Chinese company submitted a late bid for control of Opel.
The four German states with Opel plants have reservations about RHJ International taking a stake in GM Europe, the state of Thuringia said on Monday.
“Magna is still the best solution, the second best would be Fiat,” Thuringia’s economy minister Juergen Reinholz told Reuters, adding that he believed a deal with Magna and GM on Opel could be possible this month.