Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nothing Happens by Serendipity

Still wondering why the unions had to give up so much ground before GM gets sold cheap? They're the bad guys, right? Yeah. They led the banks down the primrose path. Or so you'd think.

Shanghai car-maker SAIC makes approach for Vauxhall The Chinese car manufacturer that owns the rump of MG Rover will this week begin considering a potential investment in a new European company that will house Britain's Vauxhall By Mark Kleinman 11 Apr 2009 Shanghai-based SAIC has requested a sale document from General Motors (GM), the stricken US car-maker, which has warned that it may file for bankruptcy in an effort to ensure its survival. Commerzbank, the German banking group, is orchestrating the sale process on behalf of GM, which is to establish a new subsidiary comprising Vauxhall and Opel, the German car manufacturer. A new investor would be invited to acquire a controlling stake in the company, with GM potentially retaining a minority interest. Vauxhall employs about 5,000 people in Britain at its plants in Luton, Beds, and Ellesmere Port on Merseyside. Efforts to sell a stake in the new Opel-Vauxhall company will be complicated by separate negotiations taking place with a number of European governments, including in Britain, about State guarantees worth up to €3.3bn. SAIC's interest will prompt questions from union officials about the security of jobs at Vauxhall. The Chinese car-maker acquired the assets of MG Rover, which collapsed four years ago, when it merged with a domestic rival. Geely Automotive, the Chinese company which owns a stake in Manganese Bronze, the maker of London's black cabs, has also requested the information from Commerzbank.

The sale will exclude Saab, which GM is attempting to sell separately, and the European sales operations of Chevrolet. Other interested parties include at least one consortium of private equity firms, although many financial buyers have lost their appetite for investing in the industry because of the travails of Chrysler, the Detroit car-maker which is owned by Cerberus. GM declined to comment on the process. The auction of a controlling stake in the European arm of GM comes amid the biggest shake-up in the history of the automotive industry. Ford Motor is auctioning Volvo, while Daimler last month sold a small stake to an Abu Dhabi-based investor.

•TI Automotive, the Oxford-based car parts supplier which employs about 1000 people in Britain, has lined up the restructuring specialists Zolfo Cooper to provide advice amid growing concern about its future.

It's a good thing that none of this was orchestrated (like maybe to increase the power of those at the top of this stinkin' heap), as the coming explosion of rage already will be quite loud. Suzan _________________

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