Germany: Magna Boosts Opel Offer

BUEDINGEN, Germany (AP) -- A German state governor who has been involved in talks on Opel's future said Tuesday that Canadian auto parts maker Magna has improved its offer, raising the amount of money it is prepared to contribute immediately.

Magna International Inc. is now prepared to put euro350 million ($498 million) into the General Motors Co. unit immediately after taking a stake, rather than the euro100 million initially planned, Hesse state governor Roland Koch said.

Magna is bidding for a majority stake in Adam Opel AG -- based at Ruesselsheim, in Koch's state -- in a consortium with Russian lender Sberbank.

Last week, it said its plan called for Magna and Sberbank each to take 27.5 percent of Opel, while 35 percent would remain with GM and 10 percent would go to Opel employees.

Magna said then that the offer "contemplates a total equity investment by the consortium of euro500 million over time."

The Magna-Sberbank consortium is competing with a rival bid from Brussels-based investor RHJ International SA.

German federal and state governments are players in the negotiations because they are offering financial help to make a deal possible. They have made clear that they favor Magna.

"Magna is more expensive in its concept, but at the same time more promising for the future, because they are saying: 'we want to enter new markets,'" Koch said.

He called for a quick decision on Opel's future.

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