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August 25, 2009

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Home » Business » Auto

Hopes rest on exec visit

THE German government anticipates a visit this week from a General Motors Co executive as Berlin pushes for a quick decision on the European Opel unit's future, an official said yesterday.

The government hopes the executive will meet with Germany's "Opel task force" of federal and state officials, government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said. He did not identify the manager or give more precise timing.

GM's board last Friday made no decision between bids for a majority in Opel from a consortium led by Canada's Magna International Inc and Brussels-based investor RHJ International SA. It was unclear when it might decide.

While the decision on Germany-based Opel's buyer lies principally with GM, Germany is a player because it is offering financial help to make a deal possible.

Berlin's strong preference for the Magna-led group, which also includes Russian lender Sberbank, is causing friction with Detroit. GM has indicated that it would prefer RHJ because the Magna-Sberbank bid raises the possibility of patents and other intellectual property falling into competitors' hands.

Germany dismissed suggestions that the issue was becoming a problem for United States-German relations.


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