DealZone

Road to fortune or highway to hell?

September 10, 2009

GM-OPEL/That will ultimately be the question asked about what kind of a future the German carmaker Opel faces.

Parent General Motors said on Thursday that it indeed wanted
to sell a majority stake in the unit to Canadian auto parts
group Magna and Russia’s Sberbank, a decision long favoured by the German government under Chancellor Angela Merkel.

With about two weeks to go until a general election in
Europe’s biggest economy, this would clearly be a political
victory — but the question remains whether it will also be an
economic one.

Merkel said that GM’s recommendation — which would see
Magna’s Brussels-listed rival bidder RHJ International losing
out in the battle that has dragged on for months — is going to
be tied to conditions.

Although she said that those conditions would be manageable and
negotiable, doubts remain about whether this will be the new
beginning the company is hoping for.

“The most meaningful choice would have been a global company
that produces several millions of cars (per year), such as GM or
a Chinese producer. Magna is not a producer of cars in the
classic sense, and I could imagine that some other producers
could be upset about the decision. As a consequence, Opel may
lose some contracts,” said NordLB analyst Frank Schwope.

“This seems to be a political decision rather than an
economical one.”

What do you think?

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