March 6, 2017 / 7:01 AM / 5 months ago

GM falls out of love with Opel, sells it to Peugeot

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Following is a chronology of Opel's history and its sale to Peugeot:

1863: Adam Opel sets up a sewing machine workshop in the western German town of Russelsheim. He later makes bicycles as well.

1899: Opel's sons, who take over the business, build their first automobile.

1903: Vauxhall builds its first car.

1925: General Motors (GM) buys Vauxhall.

1928: Opel claims top spot as Germany's biggest carmaker, with a market share of 38 percent.

1929: GM buys Opel.

1962: The company builds a factory in Bochum and, later, plants in Kaiserslautern and Eisenach.

1999: GM Europe makes a profit.

2004: GM announces plans to cut 12,000 jobs in Europe, of which about 6,000 are at Opel.

Nov 2008: GM faces a liquidity squeeze. Opel asks Germany for state loan guarantees.

Dec 2008: Germany says it is looking at various options to help Opel.

Feb 2009: GM presents a restructuring plan to the U.S. government, puts its Swedish carmaker Saab up for sale and announces $1.2 billion of cost cuts in Europe.

June 2009: GM files for bankruptcy.

July 2009: GM emerges from bankruptcy, majority owned by the U.S. government.

Sept 2009: GM agrees to the sale of a 55 percent stake in Opel to a group led by Canada's Magna International Inc.

Nov 3, 2009: GM reverses the sale decision and instead says it will keep control of Opel.

Feb 9, 2010: Opel asks Germany for 1.5 billion euros in state aid to fund restructuring, 4,000 job cuts.

March 2, 2010: GM says it will triple its funding of Opel to 1.9 billion euros in equity and loans and cuts its request for state aid.

March 12, 2010: Britain says it will provide a 270 million pound loan guarantee to help safeguard the company's Vauxhall operations in Britain.

Apr 30, 2010: GM says it will close a factory in Antwerp, Belgium, by the end of 2010 with 400 million euros for termination benefits.

2012: Opel presents a 10-year turnaround plan to introduce 23 new or revised vehicles, with 13 new engines, by 2016.

Feb 2012: GM takes a 7 percent stake in Peugeot after the companies announce an alliance, promising eventual savings of $1 billion each.

Oct 31, 2012: GM Europe outlines a target to achieve break-even EBIT-adjusted results by mid-decade through a focus on growth and cost efficiencies.

Dec 2012: GM decides to close Bochum. The last car comes off the production line on Dec. 6, 2014 with closure costs of at least $866 million.

Apr 10, 2013: GM pledges to invest 4 billion euros to fund 23 new cars and 13 new engines at Opel by 2016.

Oct 2013: Peugeot-maker PSA and GM say they are scaling back their alliance.

March 2013: Karl-Thomas Neumann appointed chairman of the board of Adam Opel AG and president, Europe.

Dec 5, 2013: GM says it will drop the Chevrolet brand in Europe by the end of 2015 and focus its efforts on reviving Opel and Vauxhall.

Dec 10, 2013: GM announces that company veteran Mary Barra will become CEO in January 2014, while installing former investment banker and CFO Dan Ammann as president.

Feb 19, 2014: The French state and China's Dongfeng each take 14 percent stakes in PSA in a 3 billion euro capital increase. The Peugeot family sees its 25.4 percent stake and 38 percent of voting rights diluted to parity with Dongfeng and the French state, ceding control of the company it founded in 1810 as a maker of tools and coffee mills.

June 4, 2014: Opel updates its turnaround plan, pledges to reach a European market share of 8 percent, and an EBIT margin of 5 percent by 2022, by launching 27 new models and 17 new engines between 2014 and 2018.

March 9, 2015: GM says it will buy back $5 billion worth of shares and distribute another $5 billion in dividends to shareholders by the end of 2016, and vows to generate 20 percent or better returns on cash invested in new vehicles, advanced technology and other capital projects.

March 18, 2015: GM says it will shut a Russian factory and wind down its Opel brand in the country, taking a $600 million charge.

June 9, 2015: GM CEO Mary Barra says Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI) CEO Sergio Marchionne sent an email proposing a potential merger, and that GM's board gave "strong support" to her strategy of going it alone.

Sept 15, 2015: GM CEO Mary Barra reiterates a tie-up with Fiat Chrysler is not in her shareholders' best interest and the U.S. carmaker has the scale to pursue its investments in new technologies on its own.

Jan 4, 2016: GM announces a $500 million investment in ride hailing firm Lyft Inc and lays out plans to develop an on-demand network of self-driving cars with the ride-sharing service. [nL3N14O3VA]

Jan 13, 2016: GM raises its profit outlook and says it will return cash to shareholders by raising its stock buyback program by 80 percent to $9 billion and increasing its dividend by 6 percent. [nL2N14X0RU]

Jan 21, 2016: GM says it is creating a car-sharing brand, Maven, to expand the market for vehicles consumers borrow rather than own.

Feb 24, 2016: PSA Group says it will consider paying a dividend for 2016 after reaching its medium-term targets ahead of schedule, helped by cost cuts.

March 11, 2016: GM buys Cruise Automation, a San Francisco self-driving vehicle startup. [nL1N16J0ZN]

July 2016: GM says it may need to cut costs in Europe to offset up to $400 million of potential headwinds triggered by Britain's Brexit vote. [nL8N1B01IM]

Jan 10, 2017: GM says it expects earnings for 2016 at the high end of its previous forecast and that profits will rise in 2017. [nL1N1F018Q]

Jan 29, 2017: GM presents a new strategy to double the lifespan of vehicle platforms and increase capital spending to about $9 billion a year through 2019, up from $7 billion a year in 2014.

Feb 7, 2017: GM's 2016 full-year results reveal Europe had made a $300 million euros adjusted EBIT loss.

Feb 14, 2017: Reuters reports GM is exploring a sale of Opel to PSA Group.

Feb 14, 2017: PSA and GM confirm they are exploring numerous strategic initiatives aimed at improving  profitability and operational efficiency, including a potential acquisition of Opel Vauxhall by PSA.

Feb 15, 2017: PSA says it will despatch CEO Carlos Tavares to meet German labor and political leaders likely to include Chancellor Angela Merkel, as his GM counterpart Mary Barra visits Opel headquarters near Frankfurt. [nL8N1G0330]

Feb 17, 2017: Germany's Economy Minister says she expects PSA's proposed acquisition of Opel to go ahead after hearing reassurances about preserving jobs in discussions with senior executives from GM and PSA.

Feb 23, 2017: PSA announces its first dividend in six years and raises its medium-term profitability goal after full-year profit almost doubles. [nL8N1G80PW]

March 6, 2017: GM and PSA say GM's Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary and GM Financial's European operations will join the PSA Group in a transaction valuing these activities at 1.3 billion euros and 0.9 billion euros, respectively. [nL5N1GI0OO]

Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath and Mark Potter

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