By on January 26, 2010

Opel finally has a restructuring plan. Opel CEO Nick Reilly announced the good news this morning, says Automobilwoche [sub]. “All we need to do is to come to a final agreement with the unions and the works council. I hope, this will happen within the next two or three weeks,” said Reilly. I there a doctor in the house? We have a serious case of relentless optimism.

The plan contains the closure of Antwerp, salary concessions of €265m annually, and €2.7b in government help. What if the governments don’t play along? “Maybe we will not get the full 2.7 billion but I do expect we will receive a significant amount,” Reilly said to Reuters.

What about the unions? A few days ago, the unions and the European Works Council of Opel already said that it will be a nippy day in hell before they will make any salary concessions, and that the close of Antwerp (or any other plants) is an absolute deal- breaker.

For Reilly, this is nothing but a momentary  “hiatus in the talks.” A hiatus? A  union leader called the closure a “declaration of war.” Belgian unions have just brought suit against Opel over the closure of Antwerp.

State aid will be hard to get unless the unions support a restructuring plan. If there is any government aid tied to keeping plants open, then Brussels will shoot it down.  Reilly handed Brussels the bullets. All countries that host major Opel manufacturing sites — except Belgium — remain open to extending state funding in principle, said Reilly to Reuters. Pure coincidence that Antwerp was first to go?

Nick Reilly may have a plan. He also has very long odds of the plan succeeding.

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5 Comments on “Against All Odds: Opel Has A Plan...”


  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    The “Meeting Place” looks to be somewhat to the East of the current dwelling!

    I find Nick R’s statement confusing … and indicative of him having a 2nd, lower, minimum level for gov’t contributions…

    Make statements like that, and the various stakeholders won’t be so likely to move because each waits for the other to move first…

    If his requirements were bottom-line, he would be better-served saying that the plan, as presented, is dead if the parties don’t each contribute their defined share to the cause…

    What I can’t quite tell is whether they have reached the point of jumping out of the windows, or if that is where they already began…

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    It’s supposed to be EUR265 million, rather than just the 265, right? ;)

    Too bad for Opel, they finally started producing semi-competitive products again…

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Do you have any more of those pics with flying pigs?

    Nothing is going to happen as quick as Riley wishes.

    1st – bailouts are so 2009. This is 2010 and frankly – we all suffer from something called bailout fatigue even if it is a loan.

    Next up – Union elections are in the Spring and everyone is pissed off. The unions or work councils aren’t going to offer much of anything for now.

    In addition to Antwerp -I curious as to whether the Bochum plant is going to close – or – will be the bargaining chip for state aid?

  • avatar
    Steven02

    Union leaders are politicians and are just play to their constituents. I don’t expect any union leader to be happy about a plant closing. We all knew it was going to happen and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another plant be closed as well. The union leaders will come back to the table. Not sure if GM will get everything they are looking for, but I know the unions definitely will not.

    The lawsuit sounds like a last ditch effort as well. I doubt it will go very far.

    Reilly also didn’t give Brussels the bullets. State aid plans for jobs will be shot down, it has already been demonstrated. But, what if the jobs are cut before the state aid comes? Say GM closes 1 more plant or maybe 2 (I don’t know how many and where). Then I guess the deals for state aid would be ok because they are now no longer about saving jobs because all the cuts have already been made.

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