Abu Dhabi may rescue Opel

Abu Dhabi may rescue Opel
Photo: DPA
A senior member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family has confirmed United Arab Emirate's interest in buying into stricken car manufacturer Opel.

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of Abu Dhabi told the Westdeutsche Allgemeinen Zeitung (WAZ) newspaper that there are state investment funds or private investors in the United Arab Emirates prepared to invest in the business. “I understand how important this question is for Germany,” he added.

“A decision has not been made yet,” Hamdan said, but added that he had been conferring with the leadership of the UAE on Opel’s situation over the weekend. Hamdan emphasised, “We are not just concentrating in this sector,” but assured WAZ that the UAE is very interested in investing in German industry in general. Apart from the auto industry, Abu Dhabi is apparently also interested in buying into renewable energy.

Hamdan said that a meeting with Jürgen Rüttgers, state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, home of one of the threatened Opel factories, had been very positive. Everything now depends on further negotiations, he said. Rüttgers is said to have handed Hamdan a list of more than 20 companies interested in investors.

Opel is currently struggling to find an investor after a recent restructuring plan presented to the German government was coolly received. Opel’s parent company US car-giant General Motors asked for €3.3 billion in government investment and awaits a decision.

“There are endless possibilities,” Hamdan said, when asked about the chances for new financial partnerships in the global economic crisis. He also referred to a very recent precedent for such a deal: an Abu Dhabi investment fund bought a 9.1 percent share in Germany’s car manufacturer Daimler last month.

Hamdan is said to be sympathetic to Germany. He is active in an Emirate-German friendship society of which Gerhard Schröder is also a member, and German President Horst Köhler has awarded him the Federal Order of Merit.