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Opel deal may be signed this week

BUPYEONG, Oct 15 – General Motors may sign a deal this week to sell its Opel unit to Canadian parts manufacturer Magna International, GM chief executive Fritz Henderson said Thursday.

"We might see it signed this week," Henderson told a press conference, adding GM was working "very, very diligently" with its partners to try to finalise the deal.

He was speaking during a visit to the plant of South Korean subsidiary GM Daewoo. The US auto giant is trying to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in fresh financing for the unit.

German business daily Handelsblatt has reported that the Opel deal will be signed later Thursday.

The long-drawn out saga was supposed to be closed on Tuesday but further negotiations with union officials and questions of financing have pushed the signing back, it said.

Under a preliminary deal announced in Berlin on September 10, GM is poised to sell a 55 percent stake to Magna and Russian state-owned lender Sberbank.

Chancellor Angela Merkel\’s government, keen to safeguard the jobs of Opel\’s 25,000 German employees, agreed to sweeten the deal with 4.5 billion euros\’ (6.7 billion dollars) worth of public money.

The deal has been beset in recent weeks by wrangling between European countries over financing.

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