GM Antwerp plant closing worker costs 400 mln euro

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co said on Friday that it expected to incur costs of 400 million euros ($532 million) for termination benefits covering 2,600 workers at an Antwerp, Belgium, plant it plans to close by the end of 2010.

GM GM.UL also said a search led by the Flemish government would be conducted to try to sell the plant to an outside investor until the end of September.

GM, which emerged from a U.S. government-supported bankruptcy in July 2009, had planned to sell a majority stake in its European operations, but in November opted to retain its Opel brand and complete a restructuring.

The automaker’s attempts to restructure in Europe have met stiff opposition from worker groups and governments aiming to preserve jobs.

GM and the plant employees reached an agreement on the termination benefits earlier this week.

The company expects “a significant number” of workers to leave under the program by the end of June. The remaining workers would receive termination benefits if they are not hired by a new plant owner, or if an investor is not found.

(euro= $1.33)

Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn