Opel: The Factories Are Leaving The Sinking Ship

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
opel the factories are leaving the sinking ship


GM’s Opel took another step towards a possible bankruptcy. Opel sold six European facilities to the American mother , says the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The real estate includes an engine plant in Hungary, a development center in Turin, Italy, a factory in Gliwice, Poland, a transmission plant in Austria, and other “activities” in the UK and Russia, the paper says. The FAZ received a “no comment” from Opel, but no denial. Opel is not rolling in money, despite the sale.

Opel owes GM some 2.5 billion EUR ($3.31 billion) on a note. The note is due end of 2014. Now, the note is extended for another two years, writes the paper. Of course, GM could have put a little more faith into Opel and could have simply extended the loan. Then, money and factories would have been gone during a bankruptcy.

This way, Opel is shedding assets, and the assets go to GM. Only the plants in Germany, the factory in Zaragoza, Spain, and Ellesmere Port, UK, are still owned by Opel. Says the FAZ:

“The transaction could be in preparation for an unlikely, but theoretically not impossible collapse of Opel. In case of an insolvency, GM would retain parts of the most important manufacturing sites in Europe.”

GM took the best parts of Opel. Gliwice is a modern plant, built in 1998. The Rüsselsheim plant is ancient. The Bochum plant was built in 1962, Ellesmere Port in the same year.

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6 of 20 comments
  • Rumpel Rumpel on Dec 21, 2012

    These factories and companies get shifted around a bit: Opel only owned them since 2009, GM moved them to Opel before the bail out.

  • Catelu Catelu on Dec 21, 2012

    The Bochum plant was built in 1962, but in 1999 it was revamped after a 1.7bn Eur investment. I think that's what actually matters, not the actual age of the site.

  • Analoca Analoca on Dec 21, 2012

    Opel is a 100% owned subsidiary of GM. This is simple internal accounting with no external implications. Wonder why Mr.Schmitt deduces a possible pre-bankruptcy move from this? Perhaps a wishfull thinking considering his anti-GM / Opel bias

  • Detroit-X Detroit-X on Dec 21, 2012

    I'm detecting a pattern here. The GM CEO and Board finally has the balls to do face-off with the belligerent CAW & Euro unions. And to that I say: Good for them. While I do not disagree with all the union positions, their "let's party like it's 1969" attitude needs a long-overdue adjustment. While growing up in Michigan decades ago, the 'teenage me' thought the union's demands were ridiculous. For those "terrible jobs and working conditions" they would go on regularly go on strike for, hurting my town, 30,000 people would line up for 100 openings.