Pretty soon you’ll hear about a breakthrough for Opel, and that there will be state aid. If not, you’ve read it here first. In any case, treat the news carefully. Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, usually well-informed in Opel matters, reports that the state of Thuringia offered help to Opel. The Süddeutsche calls it a “symbolic offer.”
First, the offer is for €27.2m ($33.3m), a pittance for a company that lost $500m last year. Second, it’s tied to what the €300m state aid from Great Britain is also tied: Serious money from Germany’s federal government.
Two other German states are expected to offer money, under the same conditions. One of the two already denied that they had made a decision. Nick Reilly told the Handelsblatt today that Poland wants to help, and that Spain promised an answer within the next then days. Any offers of cash will come with the usual caveat: We’ll give if Berlin pays the lion’s share. Opel would like to collect €1.8b, they expect €1.3b from Germany.
Today, another of the many committees that have to approve money for Opel is meeting, but nobody expects a decision. They will most likely pass the decision on to the next committee.
Meanwhile in Berlin, Economy Minister Rainer Brüderle sees no reason for undue haste. He thinks, a decision will come “end of May, beginning of June,” says Der Westen. Most observers, Reilly included, don’t expect a decision before June.
Berlin gives GM more reason to regret their “payback” ad. Brüderle makes ominous noises about GM doing well, that they “intensively think about going public,” that they repay their debt before it’s due. Sales are also good. Subliminal message: Do they really need our money?
Update: More delays. The steering committee wanted to convene today. But there was no quorum. Several members didn’t think the matter was worthy of their appearance. Now, the matter will be solved via “Umlaufverfsahren”, or circular resolution: The files will be sent from one member to the other, for a Ja or Nein. That can take yet another week. Then, on to the next committee.