Mon, Nov 26, 2012 - Page 15 News List

GM in talks to sell factory to ZF, Punch

Bloomberg

General Motors Co (GM) is in talks to sell its vehicle-transmission factory in Strasbourg, France, to ZF Friedrichshafen AG and Punch International NV.

ZF and Punch are bidding jointly to acquire the plant, GM spokesman Stefan Weinmann said by telephone on Friday from Ruesselsheim, Germany.

“We continue to be in discussions, but this is not a done deal,” he said, declining to specify a possible price.

ZF and Punch are in “advanced negotiations regarding the production of 8-speed automatic transmissions for ZF in Strasbourg,” Marc Maes, a Punch spokesman, said in an e-mail on Friday.

He added that if the GM plant can be acquired, “We can’t provide a timeline for the discussions.”

GM started a strategic review of the plant in May, hiring Barclays PLC to solicit bids from potential buyers, while also evaluating other options to keep the facility operational.

The Detroit-based automaker said last month losses in Europe may reach US$1.8 billion this year, and that it is seeking a return to profit in the region within three years.

Ford Motor Co, the second-largest US carmaker, has announced plans to close three European factories in the next two years, eliminating 13 percent of its workforce in the region.

GM plans to close a plant in Bochum, Germany, in 2016.

Torsten Fiddelke, a ZF Friedrichshafen spokesman, confirmed the company was involved in talks on the plant.

About 1,000 people work at GM’s Strasbourg plant, which produced roughly 280,000 six-speed automatic transmissions last year.

The plant, founded in 1967, has primarily supplied non-European GM divisions.

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