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GM Europe awaits decision over future owner

The German government is expected to choose its preferred bidder for General Motors’ European division Opel and Vauxhall today.

The four bidders vying for the company are Fiat, Canadian car parts maker Magna, Brussels-based investment firm RHJ International, and the Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation.

GM's US rescue plan has also ran into trouble after a large number of investors refused to exchange their debt for company shares. This means the company is more likley to enter into Chapter 11bankruptcy when it meets the US government's Monday deadline to present a new restructuring plan.

Approximately 5,500 workers at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port and Luton plants will be waiting to hear whether their jobs will be secure under the chosen preferred bidder.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has said the Government has "not ruled out" a financial contribution to help secure the future of Vauxhall.

According to the Financial Times, he held "substantial telephone conversations" on Tuesday with the bosses of Vauxhall's parent companies.

Lord Mandelson spoke to Fritz Henderson, GM's chief executive, and Carl Peter Forster, chief executive of GM Europe, to make clear the "UK's commitment to all of Vauxhall's plants", the FT said.

There are fears the German government could give in to election-year pressure with a pledge to protect domestic jobs at the expense of those in the UK.

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