Opel says it will close plant in Antwerp

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German automaker Opel, a unit of US car giant General Motors, said Monday it would shut down a plant in Antwerp, Belgium, by the end of the year because no suitable buyer was found for it.

"None of the potential investors (were) able to come forward with a sustainable business concept for the plant," Dow Jones Newswires quoted an Opel statement as saying.

"The ... search (for) an industrial investor interested in continuing operations has come to an end," Opel added.

The Belgian plant employs around 2,600 people and was founded in 1924.

Opel chief executive Nick Reilly told media at the Paris auto show last week that the company could make its decision this week.

Although the company expected to make a profit in 2012, it would probably report "a significant loss" this year and be hit by further restructuring charges in 2011, Reilly said.

GM wants to cut its European auto capacity by 20 percent and eliminate around 8,000 jobs so as to focus on Opel and its British sister brand Vauxhall.

The US parent company decided not to pursue European state aid for the restructuring after talks with Germany dragged on and sparked controversy.

© 2010 AFP

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