German Opel “Bailout” targets Reconstruction to Green Automotive Group
“Automotive to Solar-motive”
With “SolarWorld AG is Planning Takeover Offer for German Opel Sites” (Deutsch), SolarWorld has telegraphed a planned bid to General Motors Corporation (NYSE:GM) for four German factories and the Rüsselsheim development center of Adam Opel GmbH.
SolarWorld AG (FRA:SWV) plans to offer €250 million cash and €750 million in bank credit lines contingent upon a German Federal government loan guarantee. Before submission, the offer will also require:
- the complete separation of Opel from the GM Group
- a compensation payment of 40,000 EUR per German job (totaling 1 billion EUR)
SolarWorld said it “would subsequently develop Opel into the first ‘green’ European automotive group” and:
After the restructuring of the product range the tradition-fraught German car maker would especially offer electric drive and hybrid drive vehicles in the future as well as models equipped with the latest technology like extended-range electric drive vehicles that combine electric motors and combustion engines in a highly efficient manner.
The group has already been working for some years on the development and testing of electric drive vehicles that are propelled by solar energy and that even participate successfully in motor racing.
SolarWorld Chairman and CEO Frank H. Asbeck said:
Sustainability is a comprehensive concept. The challenges of climate protection and of the market can only be met if we move on from automotive to solar-motive concepts.
In the “Kein Scherz: Solarworld will Opel kaufen” article by Handelsblatt, SolarWorld CEO Asbeck said:
“Das Angebot ist ernst gemeint. Es geht mir darum, den Verkaufsprozess für Opel in Gang zu setzen”
“Ich kann nichts dazu sagen, mit wem ich mich in Berlin treffe. Die Idee für eine Übernahme von Opel ist uns nicht heute morgen um 9 Uhr gekommen, die haben wir schon seit einigen Wochen.” Bedeckt hielt sich der Konzerngründer über die Pläne für eine Integration des Autobauers. “Dazu werden wir uns derzeit nicht äußern.”
My loose English translation:
“The offer is meant seriously. My intention is to set the sales process for Opel in motion.”
“I can not say with whom I am meeting in Berlin. The idea for a takeover of Opel did not hit us this morning at 9 o’clock; we have had this idea for a number of weeks.” The integration plans of founder (Asbeck) for the auto maker remain clouded. “About that we will not comment.”
Here are a few early reports on the bid:
- “Kein Scherz: Solarworld will Opel kaufen” Handelsblatt
- “SolarWorld offers $1.3B for Adam Opel’s assets” by George Frey Associated Press
- “SolarWorld Offer 1 Billion Euros For German G.M. Unit” The New York Times DealBook
With this bid, SolarWorld is redefining itself as a green sustainability company instead of simply a leading solar photovoltaic firm. SolarWorld has strong political connections in Berlin, so I would not discount the possibility of German political support for this bid.