1.5 billion euro loan agreed as Fiat says it is Opel's best option
21 May 2009

German officials have prepared 1.5 billion euros (£1.33m) in bridging loans for Opel, as three formal bids were submitted to takeover the company.

Italian car maker Fiat said it was confident of winning the bidding process over rivals Magna, the Austrian car parts firm, and RHJ International, a Brussels investment company.

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Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne was in a confident mood yesterday, saying the Italian car maker was the only bidder with the expertise to save Opel.

Speaking to members of the Agnelli family at a private meeting on Wednesday, he said: “Fiat has more than a 50 per cent chance of pulling off its bid for Opel.

"At the end of the day, ours is the only offer that has real content and makes industrial sense.

"The others either do not have productive clout or are basically financial: and we have seen with Cerberus, the investment fund that controlled Chrysler, just how weak such solutions can be.”

General Motors is expected to file for bankruptcy protection in the US in less than two weeks, but admitted the sale of a stake in its European Opel/Vauxhall arm could still take months.

In an attempt to avoid rushing the takeover process through, Germany’s government has reportedly reached an agreement about bridge financing worth up to €1.5bn (£1.33m) for Opel.

The financing is understood to be being readied to provide financial security for up to six months. It is being funded by four German states where Opel has plants and a number of undisclosed private banks.

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