RHJ International has posted a 42 per cent annual loss
2 July 2009

RHJ International, the Belgian private equity firm reported to be bidding for Opel/Vauxhall, has posted a full-year loss of one billion Euros (£850 million), sparking doubts over its ability to buy a stake in the German manufacturer from GM.

Its equity portfolio suffered a 43 per cent loss in value compared to this time last year. Analysts are now saying that RHJ is in no fit position to buy any stake in Opel, despites its perceived good intentions.

An industry source said: “RHJ can't acquire a majority stake or a large minority in Opel, because they simply don't have the cash. RHJ doesn't even come close.”

Vauxhall/Opel sale in trouble

The source suggested that RHJ may still secure a small stake to support its automotive subsidiaries including Belgian parts maker Honsel International, but a majority one was now out of the question.

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RHJ said it has 447 million Euros (£380 million) available for investment in new assets. By contrast, the deal GM has agreed with Magna and Sberbank would see the two firms invest between 500 and 700 million Euros (£430 - £600 million).

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An RHJ statement, which did not mention Opel, said: "The company's automotive assets suffered the effects of severe and rapid volume declines.

“Our cash position continues to be a key strength as we review new investment opportunities and possible expansion into new strategic areas including, but not limited to, financial services in Europe.”

Mark Tisshaw

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