Thursday, December 24, 2009

GM Decides to Keep Opel After All, Cancels Sale with Magna

In a strange turn of events (though some might rightfully disagree....), GM today announced that the company's Board of Directors decided to terminate the sale process of Opel to a Russian-backed group led by Magna and keep the European unit under its control. The U.S. automaker said that it took this decision because of an "improving business environment for GM over the past few months" as well as the importance of the Opel/Vauxhall brands to the firm's global strategy.

GM's president and CEO Fritz Henderson said in a prepared statement that the company will present its restructuring plan for its European division to Germany and other governments and hopes for its favorable consideration. The U.S. automaker anticipates that the restructuring of Opel will cost around €3 billion, or about $4.4 billion at today's exchange rates.

"While strained, the business environment in Europe has improved." Henderson said. "At the same time, GM's overall financial health and stability have improved significantly over the past few months, giving us confidence that the European business can be successfully restructured. We are grateful for the hard work of the German and other EU governments in navigating this difficult economic period. We're also appreciative of the effort put forward by Magna and its partners in Russia in trying to reach an equitable agreement."

Siegfried Wolf, Magna's Co-Chief Executive Officer stated: "We understand that the Board concluded that it was in GM's best interests to retain Opel, which plays an important role within GM's global organization. We will continue to support Opel and GM in the challenges ahead and wish to thank everyone who supported the Opel restructuring process for their tireless efforts and dedication over the past several months."

So, what do you think about GM's decision to retain Opel and ditch Magna and it's Russian financers, will it be beneficial for both parties in the long run? Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment after the jump.

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