Opel would be finished without German govt, says Angela Merkel

Opel would be finished without German govt, says Angela Merkel

"Without our involvement there would be no Opel today," Merkel told the Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) daily in an interview to be published tomorrow. "We secured Opel's chances of survival."

With US parent company GM struggling to survive, Germany gave Opel a "bridging loan" of 1.5 billion euros (USD 2.2 billion) to keep it running and Opel's 25,000 German employees, half the European total, in a job.

In September, GM signed a preliminary deal to sell a majority stake in Opel, a deal backed by the German government with three billion euros in state loan guarantees, but last month GM decided not to sell after all.

With Merkel having invested considerable political capital in securing the deal, Berlin was not amused. It is now demanding that GM pay back the money.

"Now that the final decision has been taken, GM now has to pay back the bridging loan. It has now taken over the responsibility of financing Opel itself," Merkel told the FAZ.

GM Europe issued a statement a short time later saying it had repaid another 200 million euros on the loan, and that the outstanding sum of 400 million would be settled by November 30.

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