GM sale of Opel to PSA to be announced Monday

Posted March 05, 2017

PSA Group and General Motors Co. are set to announce on Monday the purchase of the Opel brand by the French company, creating the region's second-largest automaker and allowing GM to exit the European market, according to people familiar with the matter.

PSA chief executive officer Carlos Tavares plans to revive GM's unprofitable Opel and Vauxhall brands with a restructuring similar to his project that brought the maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars back from the brink over the past three years.

Spokespeople for PSA and Opel declined further comment. Between them, PSA and GM Europe recorded 71.6 billion euros ($76 billion) in revenue and 4.3 million vehicle deliveries a year ago.

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Earlier on Friday, Opel managers had adjourned a town hall meeting with workers until Monday morning, saying they could not yet discuss details of the planned acquisition. Separate briefings for the German press and Opel unions are expected to be held the same day.

For PSA, the Opel deal caps a stellar two-year recovery under cost-cutting CEO Carlos Tavares, who said on February 23 he would apply the same methods to Opel if the deal went through.

The two brands that are now owned by General Motors shared numerous parts and technologies while the bowtie was sold in Europe, which led to the necessity of the non-compete restriction that may be applied to other markets where Chevy and Opel are present.

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Sources close to the talks had reported progress on Thursday after the carmakers narrowed differences on a near-$10 billion Opel pension deficit and other issues.

GM reported a loss of $257m (£209m) from its European operations last year - its 16th straight year of losses.

Nevertheless, in a statement last week, PSA boss Carlos Tavares said he believes the tie up will offer "opportunity to create a European auto champion" with annual sales of over 5 million units.

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One of the key negotiating points has been how PSA can achieve about €2 billion ($2.1 billion) in savings from a deal, said one person. There was also the matter of potential job losses, but PSA has made the promise to "respect the existing agreements".