Germany blames U.S. for scuttling deal on Opel
Reuters reported that the fate of German car maker Opel hung in the balance on Thursday after marathon talks on shielding it from the looming bankruptcy of its U.S. parent General Motors ended without a deal. German ministers told reporters after more than 12 hours of negotiations in Berlin that a bidding battle for Opel had narrowed to a two-way race between Italian car maker Fiat and Canadian auto parts company Magna.
The Germans blamed GM and the U.S. Treasury for the failure to agree a plan to tide Opel over until a deal with one of those suitors can be sealed. "We have made demands on the U.S. Treasury and expect answers by Friday and we will need these answers in order to agree a plan," Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said.
Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said he was hopeful a deal could be reached on Friday that would save Opel. But he spoke of "surprises and disappointment" with the U.S. negotiators, saying GM had shocked participants by announcing it needed 300 million euros in additional short-term cash. Roland Koch, premier of the state of Hesse where Opel is based, added: "I think we can say clearly that a big part of the problems tonight came from the combination of new figures from General Motors and a not very helpful negotiating stance from the Americans, from the U.S. Treasury." Guttenberg said insolvency remained an option for Opel if U.S. negotiators refused to budge.