Germany Wants To Clear Up Opel Confusion

MUNICH (AP) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday her government hopes to "clear up" questions about who will take over auto maker Opel after she met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

State-controlled Russian lender Sberbank, in a consortium with Canadian auto parts maker Magna International Inc., is currently in talks to take a majority stake in General Motors Corp.'s German-based Adam Opel GmbH unit.

A preliminary agreement was struck in May for the consortium to move ahead with an Opel rescue, but it remains unclear when a deal might be concluded. Magna and Sberbank face competition from investor RHJ International SA of Brussels and China's Beijing Automotive Industry Corp.

Merkel said she hoped to "clear up the open questions in the coming days" and said she expected Magna "to make its contribution to that."

Medvedev said the leaders view the project "with great interest and optimism."

Separately, Germany's state-owned KfW development bank signed loan agreements totaling $73 million with six Russian banks to help finance small and medium-sized Russian companies hit by the credit crunch.

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