Uncertainty over the timing of the expected signing of a 'memorandum of understanding' document selling a 55% stake in General Motors' European unit Opel to a Magna International-led consortium remains on Friday.

Several overnight and Friday morning media reports, mostly citing anonymous sources 'with knowledge of the situation', said variously the signing had been postponed from Thursday to Friday, to sometime over the weekend, or may happen even later as last-minute details remained to be finalised.

Not all affected governments have agreed to the deal yet. According to Reuters, the government of the Spanish region Aragon said last night it would discuss the latest Magna offer for the Opel stake and the future of the Spanish Corsa/Meriva plant with the central government in Madrid and unions on Friday.

"Regional and national government together with union representatives of the Figueruelas plant will study the latest proposal from the consortium regarding the plant," the Aragonese government said in a statement.

The regional government had said on Wednesday that Magna's offer to return 72% of production of the next generation Opel/Vauxhall Corsa to its Spanish plant in 2013 after a four year output cut was progress but more talks were needed.

Final German central government approval is still needed, too. Dow Jones, citing an anonymous source, reported that, though GM and the other players had delayed signing a definitive deal on Thursday, they remain confident a pact could be reached. That person suggested that, despite a range of outstanding labour, finance and regulatory hurdles, a signing could still take place today.

Magna did, however, agree a deal with Belgian labour representatives on Thursday on cost-cutting initiatives. Labour representatives in Germany, the UK, Poland and Austria have already signed the agreement.

Any definitive deal also awaits scrutiny by European competition authorities, Dow Jones noted.

GM chief executive Fritz Henderson has said several times this week it was "quite possible" a final deal could still be reached this week.

News agency AFP said the final contract expected to be signed at a lawyers' office in Frankfurt mid-Thursday afternoon German time was in the end delayed after sources and unions said that there were still several issues to be resolved.

"It could be tomorrow (Friday) or Saturday," an industry source told AFP.

"There is a new meeting [on Friday] but there are so many differing reports that nobody really knows," Rainer Einenkel, head of the Opel Bochum factory works council, told the news agency.

The news agency reports reflect what just-auto sources have said. They, too, are confident a deal will be signed, just when remains unclear.

Graeme Roberts

Thursday's developments