TIMELINE-Twists and turns in state aid for Opel

June 16 (BestGrowthStock) – Opel is withdrawing all requests for
state aid from governments in Europe, a week after Germany
turned it down, leaving parent company General Motors to fund
its European arm’s restructuring. [ID:nLDE65E1XH]
Following is a timeline of events over the last year at
Opel:

Nov 14, 2008 – Opel says for first time that it has
requested loan guarantees from German federal and state
governments

May 20, 2009 – GM Europe says three bids for Opel have been
made. Fiat confirms its bid and a source says private equity
investor RHJ International has made an offer.

May 30 – Germany agrees on a deal with Magna, GM and the
U.S. government.

July 20 – GM receives binding bids from Magna, RHJ and
China’s BAIC.

July 24 – BAIC says it has dropped out of the running.

Aug. 19 – Germany says it could provide 4.5 billion euros in
state aid for Opel without help from other European governments
if GM chooses Magna as the buyer.

Sept. 10 – GM’s board agrees to the sale of a 55 percent
stake in Opel to a group led by Magna.

Sept. 14 – Magna says it will cut about 10,500 Opel jobs in
Europe, mostly in Germany.

Nov. 3 – Opel’s labour force agrees to 265 million euros in
annual cost cuts over five years if GM goes ahead with the sale.

Hours later, GM’s board reverses its decision from
mid-September and instead declares it will keep control of Opel.

Nov. 6 – GM says Opel chief Carl-Peter Forster is leaving
and later names Nick Reilly, head of international operations,
as Opel head.

Nov. 23 – Reilly says it will cost 3.3 billion euros to
rehabilitate Opel.

Nov. 25 – Reilly says GM intends to cut around 9,000 jobs at
Opel across Europe, with 50 to 60 percent of them in Germany,
which hosts half of Opel’s 50,000 staff. Figures are later
revised to 8,300 cuts overall, with 4,000 in Germany.

Jan. 21, 2010 – GM says it will close its Antwerp plant in
2010, shedding 2,600 workers, and predicts job and capacity cuts
would affect all of its European sites.

Feb. 9 – Opel asks Germany for 1.5 billion euros in state
aid to fund 4,000 job cuts at home that will help return the
carmaker to profitability no later than 2012.

March 2 – GM says it will triple its funding of Opel to 1.9
billion euros in equity and loans and cut its request for state
aid, in a bid to win over European governments. It increases its
funding estimate for Opel to just over 3.7 billion euros.

March 12 – Britain says it will provide a 270 million pound
loan guarantee to help safeguard the company’s Vauxhall
operations in Britain and other operations in Europe.

April 30 – GM says it expects to incur costs of 400 million
euros for termination benefits covering 2,600 workers at the
Antwerp, Belgium plant it plans to close by the end of 2010.

May 7 – Reilly says he is hoping Germany would guarantee 90
percent of just 1.3 billion euros in loans, lowering his needs
after talks with other European governments yielded more help
than Opel initially expected.

May 21 – Opel says it reached an outline deal on wage
concessions with employee representatives aimed at saving 265
million euros in annual wage costs through 2014.

Ten days later, EU union and workforce representatives from
countries hosting Opel’s major manufacturing plants sign the
deal.

June 7 – Spain and the Aragon regional government will
provide Opel with 300 million euros in aid, the Aragon
government says.

June 9 – The Steering Committee of the German rescue fund
meets. Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle rejects Opel’s request
for Berlin to backstop 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) of its
borrowing.

— Reilly says he does not anticipate Opel suffering from
any major liquidity problems for the remainder of the year.

June 16 – Opel says it is withdrawing all requests for state
aid from European governments as the process is taking too long
in the face of urgent funding needs, which have not changed.

Stock Analysis

(Writing by Michael Shields, Maria Sheahan; Additional writing
and editing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

TIMELINE-Twists and turns in state aid for Opel