Germany’s economic steering committee at the economics ministry is due to meet this week to discuss Opel’s request for EUR1.3bn (US$1.6bn) in loan guarantees.
The committee unexpectedly cancelled talks last Friday (4 June) amid widespread speculation in Germany the government would refuse the guarantees, although Opel’s parent remains confident it will secure the backing.
“I can’t predict if it will make a final decision,” a GM Germany spokesman told just-auto, adding: “We answered all the questions the loan guarantee committee had – we are confident.
“There was a catalogue of questions related to the guarantee. Nick Reilly [CEO] said on several occasions he does not have a plan B and that he is confident Opel will get the loan guarantee.”
The GM spokesman insisted the automaker was not asking for direct subsidies and cited the recent repayment of a similar loan. “We have already got a so-called bridge loan and we paid [it] back as well as EUR24m in interest,” he said.
That loan, known as a bridge credit, was for EUR1bn and was guaranteed by the German government.
Speculation in Germany has centred on GM’s improving global performance as a reason why the government should turn down Opel’s loan request.
However, the spokesman noted as GM was now owned by the US taxpayer: “[They] of course are looking that the money from the US taxpayer does not go abroad.”
The UK had previously agreed a EUR300m loan guarantee to Opel’s sister Vauxhall in the guise of the government’s Automotive Assistance Programme, but the election of a new government recently is likely to see this referred back to the treasury for review.
German cabinet members met this weekend to thrash out a drastic series of austerity measures that could see the budget slashed by more than EUR11bn as the country grapples with its economic deficit.