General Motors refused to sell German car maker Opel to Canada’s Magna and Russia’s Sberbank. The Russian government has been surprised with such a decision. German workers go on strike.
The news about the GM’s decision came out of the blue. The epic story to sell the German car maker started in April of this year. Having gone bankrupt, the American giant was trying to get rid of its European division. On September 10, GM eventually decided to sell Opel to Sberbank-Magna, a Russian-Canadian consortium.
The consortium would have obtained 55 percent of Opel’s shares, Opel’s employees would have received 10 percent and GM – 35. The work on the contract was in full swing: Magna and Sberbank were looking for an enterprise which could assembly Opel vehicles in Russia. Now it just so happens that all efforts taken at this point have been taken in vain.
GM explained its decision simply. The company said that the business situation in Europe was improving, and so was the business of the corporation itself. GM’s CEO Fritz Henderson stated that the company was going to develop its business in Russia and intended to resume contracts with Russia’s GAZ Group.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated soon afterwards that GM’s decision to cancel the deal was a defeat, although she did not specify, whose defeat it was exactly.
Roland Koch, the prime minister of Hesse, Opel's home state, said that he was angry about the decision.
"I have serious concerns about the future of the company and its jobs," he said.
The official added that he hoped that GM would return the bridge loan (1.5 billion euro, or $2.2 billion) before the end of the month. The loan was granted to keep Opel afloat as a buyer was sought.
The government of Germany agreed to give the loan to Opel only if GM agreed to sell the company to the above-mentioned consortium. Now the car giant would have to return the money.
Opel’s employees were very disappointed with General Motor’s decision too. Many of them decided to go on strike for their families have lost certainty in their future.
The Russian authorities were very surprised about the decision, for the deal was about to be finished. Nevertheless, the government of Russia would not interfere into the matter.
Western experts believe that General Motors might have made a mistake. The company’s economic and financial position leaves much to be desired.
Russia Today: Canceled Opel deal - a slap in the face for Germany