FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — General Motors' European subsidiary Opel on Thursday firmly dismissed as speculation media reports that it's up for sale.
Reports in Germany's Spiegel and Auto Bild publications saying it could be sold to a Chinese firm or to competitor Volkswagen AG are "pure speculation," the company said.
Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke told employees in an internal letter viewed by The Associated Press not to let themselves be distracted by "rumors" and "speculation in the press."
"I am wondering why this question comes up precisely now, when we are back on the path to success," Stracke said in the letter.
In 2009 General Motors Co. dropped a deal to sell Opel to a consortium led by Canada-based Magna International Inc. after the U.S. automaker emerged from bankruptcy restructuring.
At the company's annual shareholders meeting on Tuesday in Detroit, GM CEO Daniel Akerson repeatedly touted progress in Europe during the past two years, even as the company lost $1.8 billion there last year, including restructuring costs.
"We have continued restructuring to do in Europe," he said. "We have made significant progress in Europe, such that it's not just an abyss that we were looking into 18 to 24 months ago."
The company expects to break even on an operating basis before restructuring costs in Europe this year.
Adam Opel GmbH, which makes the Astra, Zafira and Corsa models, accounts for most of General Motors Co.'s sales in Germany, Europe's biggest economy. The company is headquartered in Ruesselsheim, Germany and has 18,500 employees and 13 manufacturing plants in eight countries.