Mike Stevens | Jul 6, 2009

WITH THE SALE of Opel currently in limbo after negotiations with the Magna/GAZ/Sberbank group have stumbled, it seems Opel's future is no more assured now than it was months ago.

But there are other interested parties still hovering. According to Chinese newspaper Guangzhou Daily, Chinese carmaker Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corporation (BAIC) last week made a non-binding offer of 660 million euros (AU$1.16 billion) for the GM Europe subsidiary.

While the bid from Canadian auto parts group Magna, carmaker GAZ and Russian bank Sberbank is still alive, sticking points in negotiations for the sale reportedly revolve around the scale of job losses in Germany and rights of access to GM US's global technology (which GAZ is keen to secure).

German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has also reported that BAIC has sent a letter to the German Government proposing a 51 percent stake in Opel, requiring Government loan guarantees of $4.65 billion.

Responding to the German Government's main concern of factory closures and job losses, BAIC chief Xu Heyi said in the letter that "no Opel factory in Germany will be closed", though the same assurance was not offered for job security.

The German newspaper said that GM Europe CEO Carl Peter Forster hopes for the sale to be complete by mid-July, and that the Magna/GAZ/Sberbank partnership has a "considerable lead" on the other interested parties.

Meanwhile the Financial Times has reported that RHJ International, a Belgium-based holding company which is providing $2.1 billion of bridge financing to keep Opel afloat while it readies for sale (and itself having previously bid for Opel), was now also back in the running for Opel.

There is no shortage of suitors it would seem, but getting Opel to the altar is proving tricky.

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