Romanian PM Meets With Ford Officials To Discuss Factory Sale

Daewoo car factory up for sale; buyer could benefit from low Romanian wages.

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu met Tuesday with Ford Motor Co. officials who are interested in the sale of a former Daewoo car factory in southern Romania, the government said.

''The entry on the market of a second World-class carmaker, after the French group Renault, would benefit the Romanian economy by creating new jobs and developing the adjacent industry,'' Tariceanu said after the meeting with Ford's representatives Lyle Watters and Stephen Biegun.

He added that the government would offer aid to the investor who buys the plant, but that such aid was subject to European Union rules. Romania is scheduled to join the European Union in 2007.

The Romanian government signed an agreement last month to pay $60 million to buy back a 51 percent stake in the company, Daewoo Automobile Romania, from the bankrupt Korean company's creditors.

The government plans to resell the company to a major carmaker as soon as possible, Tariceanu said. Besides Ford, other carmakers including General Motors Corp., Renault SA and Chery Automotive have expressed interest in taking it over.

The Romanian Daewoo plant in the southern city of Craiova employs about 3,000 workers and can produce up to 130,000 cars and 300,000 engines and transmissions a year.

The company sold 14,031 cars in the first seven months of the year.

Analysts see the Romanian factory as a good opportunity for carmakers who want to take advantage of Romanian wages, which are lower than in Western Europe.

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