Mandelson Says Opel Takeover Is Driven by Political Intervention

Similar to other European officials, Business secretary Peter Mandelson is still reserved when it comes to the Opel acquisition by Canadian - Austrian partsmaker Magna. He has already submitted a letter to European competition chief Neelie Kroes in which he asks the commission to closely look at the deal. The letter, which was published by the Financial Times, says that Opel's takeover is too expensive and open to political intervention.

“We do not believe the case has been demonstrated that the current Magna proposal is commercially the most viable plan,” Mandelson wrote in the letter. “Capacity at highly efficient plants in Britain and Spain is planned to be under-utilized, in favor of higher utilization of some of GM's other less-efficient plants.”

Magna is expected to cut around 1,400 jobs at Vauxhall, according to a leaked documents published by a German newspaper last week. The documents revealed that Germany would be the most affected, with 4,116 fired employees. Belgium takes the second position with 2,517 fired employees, followed by Spain with 2,090 and the UK with 1,373.

"We always said that we would have to restructure in order to stay competitive in the long term, given the massive crisis in the car industry," GM Europe president Carl-Peter Forster said.

Separately, the Antwerp plant is still under consideration, with GM's CEO Fritz Henderson confirming last week at the Frankfurt Auto Show that the factory is indeed at risk.

"We looked at it in detail but it just didn't make sense based on our own internal analysis," he said. "That plant has been under evaluation for some time; no final decision has been taken. But it's certainly at risk."
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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