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German government officials meeting to discuss the future of carmaker Opel

BERLIN - German state and federal government officials were meeting in Berlin on Monday to discuss the future of General Motors Co.'s unit Opel, for which two rival bids have been proposed.

BERLIN - German state and federal government officials were meeting in Berlin on Monday to discuss the future of General Motors Co.'s unit Opel, for which two rival bids have been proposed.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday reiterated the government's preference for an offer from a consortium of Canadian car parts maker Magna International Inc. (TSX:MG.A) and Russian lender Sberbank.

Neither Magna nor the competing bidder, investment company Brussels-based RHJ International SA, were expected at the Monday meetings.

Economy Ministry spokesman Stefan Moritz said the meetings were an opportunity for working groups from the federal and state governments to come together to analyze both offers more closely.

He said, however, that the final decision on which to accept lies with General Motors. No statement was expected after the meetings, he said.

Last week, Magna reworked its offer, addressing concerns of the parent company. GM said it would review the offers further in the coming days, but didn't say when it would come to a decision.

Merkel said Magna wasn't just a financial investor, but had a "long-term interest to build cars with Opel."

Though the final decision on which bidder will wind up with Opel rests in the hands of GM, the German government can decide if - and to what degree - it will provide the new owner with financial assistance.

 
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