We knew it would be one of Angela’s feel good meetings. Careful parsing of her statement yesterday gave the clues: “I will do everything so that the employees who were pushing for the preservation of Opel receive all possible help and support we have at our disposal.” Angela hadn’t promised help for Opel. She promised to do what she can to cushion the blow to the Opel workers. Anyway, Frau Merkel met with the Premiers of the Opel states, only to tell them that the decision stands:
No help for Opel from Berlin.
“There was no breakthrough at the meeting of the Premiers of the Opel states with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” reports DDP via Ad Hoc News. The ladies and gentlemen left the meeting “disappointed.” Hopes to find alternatives to help Opel were quickly squashed. “There was no movement at all,” complained Kurt Beck, Chief of Rhineland Palatinate, where 2300 workers have Opel jobs in Kaiserslautern.
Angela gave the states a pat on the head and the advice to help Opel out of their own pockets, if they insist. They’ll probably make some empty gestures. And then nothing will happen. Without help from Berlin, any help from the states would be wasted money.
Just listen to their comments.
Thuringia is all for help by the states, said Premier Christine Lieberknecht. Easy for her to say: Thuringia offered only €27.3m
Kurt Beck of Rhineland Palatinate warned against “creating false illusions.”
Jürgen Rüttgers of Northrhein-Westphalia said that states “are available for talks with Opel.”
Roland Koch, Chief of Hesse, where Opel has its headquarters and most of the jobs, warned against a race between the states. Opel should approach the states first.
It’s not going to happen.
Opel needs much more than the €1.1b it wanted from Germany and did not get. They wanted to collect a total of €1.8b in Europe. Any offers of cash so far came with the usual caveat: We’ll give if Berlin pays the lion’s share.
With Berlin away from the poker table, it gets increasingly silly for anybody else to sink money into moribund Opel.
The less money Opel gets, the more plants they have to close. The more plants they close, the more money they need. As long as Opel survives, letting people go will bankrupt the company (Antwerp did cost $200k a head.) The only way around being bankrupted by severance payments: Bankruptcy.
Taking Opel bankrupt and continue is tricky. There will be no bad Opel and good Opel. Wages are first in line, and a hostile government can give Opel a lot of grief, especially with a solvent parent.
Anybody believe in miracle? If not, let’s cue the appropriate music. We’ll play a different tune when Whitacre finds some money he said he was not allowed to spend.