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GM Europe head says Opel may cut 3,500 jobs

  General Motors’ German unit Opel could slash 3,500 jobs as part of a plan to cut costs and relaunch as an independent company, GM Europe head Carl-Peter Forster told Bild newspaper.

Staff reductions would hopefully not exceed that figure at Opel, which employs around 25,000 workers in Germany, he told the daily on Wednesday.

To survive, Opel needs around €3.3 billion ($4.17 billion) in state aid from European governments to save jobs and keep plants open, the company has said. If Spain, the UK and Belgium contributed, the German government would have to shoulder €2-3 billion of aid, Forster said.

Opel makes cars in factories across Europe, including in the Spanish city of Zaragoza, Antwerp in Belgium and the UK’s Ellesmere Port. It also has plants in Poland and Russia.

Following the relaunch, Opel could post up to 5% return on sales, Forster said. Opel posted profits until the autumn of 2008, when it was hit by the global economic crisis. (The Economic Times)