Germany Offers $6.35B Credit To Magna

BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's economy ministry says the country is prepared to make €4.5 billion ($6.35 billion) in credit available to a Canadian-Russian consortium in the bidding war to take over Ruesselsheim-based carmaker Adam Opel GmbH.

The ministry confirmed Wednesday comments by Deputy Economy Minster Jochen Homann, saying the German government had informed General Motors Co. that it would take on the full burden of the necessary credit, in order to avoid lengthy negotiations with other European nations that host factories of Opel or GM Europe.

The German government has repeatedly stressed its preference for a consortium of Canadian auto parts maker Magna International Inc. and Russian lender Sberbank to take over the carmaker, over RHJ International SA of Brussels.

Homann, a member of Germany's negotiating team for Opel, said in comments to the Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung daily that in addition to the €1.5 billion in credit already handed out to Opel, the federal government and four German states where Opel has factories would pool together to offer the remaining €3 billion.

Discussions with Great Britain, Spain, Poland and Belgium over the help covering the credit could take place later, he said.

Under a structure created earlier this year to keep Opel out of GM's filing for bankruptcy protection, 65 percent of the carmaker has been formally under the care of a trustee since the beginning of June, with GM holding the remaining 35 percent.

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