New owners for Opel but essential GM link retained

General Motors is supporting a bid from the consortium of Magna International Inc and Sberbank to buy a majority stake in its European Opel/Vauxhall operations.

Several key issues will be finalised over the next few weeks to secure the binding agreements, including the written support of the labour unions to support the deal with the necessary cost restructuring for viability and the finalisation of a financing package from the German government.

The agreements should be ready to sign within a few weeks, with closing to follow within the next few months. Under the deal, Magna/Sberbank will purchase a 55 per cent stake in New Opel; GM will hold a 35 per cent stake, and employees will be provided a 10 per cent stake.

The agreement will keep Opel/Vauxhall a fully integrated part of GM's global product development organisation, allowing all parties to benefit from the exchange of technology and engineering resources. The new ownership structure constitutes a new lean, efficient, and independent organisation for the Opel and Vauxhall brands. The current portfolio of Opel/Vauxhall cars and the models in the pipeline are a strong basis for future success.

Participating in GM's global technology development and purchasing organisations secures important economies of scale for Opel/Vauxhall and other GM brands. For example, vehicles that represent new propulsion technologies, such as the Ampera extended-range electric vehicle, can only be brought to market in a joint effort.

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