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by Matt Brogan

The German government has expressed its reluctance to assist Opel as it waits for the manufacturer to present a future business plan before considering any state guarantees.

Suffering under the economic woes of its parent company, General Motors, Opel sought help from the German government to finance a 3.3 billion euro ($6.59 billion AUD) liquidity gap through to the end of 2011.
Some politicians have questioned the viability of such a plan saying the pumping funds in to the struggling company is simply burning money, with Germany’s Economic Minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (pictured above) saying it was not the state’s job to decide how Opel should tackle its future.

“The plan is up to the company. The state cannot take charge of this. It is a step that must be taken before the state can come to a basic decision,” zu Guttenberg said.

Opel board member Armin Schild said the company would be ready to present a plan for its future by Friday but the government remains divided on the prospect of assistance with many believing insolvency is unavoidable.

Commerzbank also raised doubts about the usefulness of state backing.

“An increasing number of politicians reject such intervention due to the uncertain long-term viability of Opel on the one hand, and the risk of an unfair competitive advantage on the other,” the bank said in a statement. “We believe that it will not be possible to run Opel on a standalone basis.”

Industry leaders too have their doubts with ex-BDI president Hans-Olaf Henkel saying, “If the state helps Opel now, then it will have to help BMW tomorrow, and then Daimler the next day and all the car parts suppliers.”

Further decisions on Opel’s future will be discussed later in the week.




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