GM CEO: Read my lips; Opel not for sale
DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N) Chief Executive Daniel Akerson has weighed in strongly on the future of its Opel business, saying the European unit was not for sale.
"We don't comment on speculation -- and there has been a lot of speculation -- but I will say this: Opel is not for sale," Akerson said at a news conference on Wednesday when asked about Opel's future.
Akerson was speaking at a GM plant to officially launch labor talks with the United Auto Workers union.
Speculation about Opel's future began in early June with reports by German media the European unit could be sold and that possible buyers included Chinese automakers or Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE).
Opel Chairman Nick Reilly said on June 30 that GM was "very satisfied" with Opel's progress, but failed to quash rumors GM was mulling a sale.
However, Opel remains a high-cost player in a low-growth region, in a segment dogged by cutthroat competition, leading to speculation of a sale or labor concessions by its workers.
Earlier this month, when criticizing VW CEO Martin Winterkorn for speculating on Opel's fate, GM failed to address specifically whether Opel was for sale.
German government leaders and Opel union officials have been frustrated by GM's refusal to address the rumors directly.
Opel officials were not immediately available to comment on Wednesday.
LONDON - European equities edged higher in early trade on Wednesday, extending gains from Tuesday after a batch of positive earnings and U.S. economic data briefly calmed worries over stretched valuations and the pace of economic recovery.
BEIJING/HONG KONG - China reiterated its opposition on Thursday to a European Union plan to limit airline carbon dioxide emissions and called for talks to resolve the issue a day after its major airlines refused to pay any carbon costs under the new law.