German chancellor raises Opel concerns to US president
6 November 2009

German chancellor Angela Merkel has urged US president Barack Obama to ensure General Motors makes a quick decision on the future of Opel.

Merkel was a big supporter of Magna in its attempts to take over Opel/Vauxhall from GM and she telephoned Obama yesterday to raise her concerns about GM’s decision.

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She has called on GM to present its new plans for Opel and ensure that any money Germany loaned to it is returned by the end of the month.

“The chancellor made clear that the German government would urge General Motors to present a new plan as quickly as possible and to repay bridge financing by the end of November,” said her spokesman in a statement.

GM’s CEO Fritz Henderson has said he is confident the firm will find the 3 billion euro (£2.7bn) necessary to restructure Opel, but refused to confirm how many jobs would be cut. It has been claimed that up to 10,000 jobs could go in Europe after Magna’s takeover fell through.

Henderson said the firm would be presenting a plan for Opel soon and it would be able to receive US government funding for the firm under the terms of its exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

“We will be very shortly presenting our plan,” said Henderson. “We feel confident that the plan will be financeable.”

Henderson said the firm had work to do if it was to survive as a global business, but it would be prudent with its plans for Opel.

“We are able to run a global business,” he said. “We certainly need to be prudent about it. We need to be careful about it but we can run a global business.”

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