There are private investors potentially interested in taking a stake in General Motors’ German unit Opel, economy minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said.

He also reiterated that the state could not support the struggling company without certain conditions being met, according to Reuters.

“There are interested parties and these parties could become investors,” he told ARD television. “Interestingly enough, they’re asking the same questions that we’ve been asking in the past weeks and are making the same demands we’ve been making.

“That shows once again that the state cannot take over the position of an investor without the conditions being fulfilled that need to be fulfilled.”

He added: “There are investors, they are serious.”

His comments came ahead of a visit today to Opel’s key Rüsselsheim factory by federal chancellor Angela Merkel, defence minister Franz Josef Jung and assorted Hessen state officials.

More than 3,000 employees are expected to attend speeches to be given by Merkel and Koch in a factory hall.

GM is restructuring Opel, which includes Vauxhall, as a stand-alone business to give the brand sufficient independence to win loans and guarantees from European governments. It is also looking to sell what could be a controlling stake in the unit to an outside investor.

Opel is also seeking EUR3.3bn (US$4.4bn) in state aid from governments where it has manufacturing operations to avoid a liquidity crunch in the coming months. The carmaker has asked the German government for loan guarantees of EUR2.6bn.