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TIMELINE - GM falls out of love with Opel, sells it to Peugeot
March 6, 2017 / 7:07 AM / 9 months ago

TIMELINE - 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:

Flags with the Opel company logo wave outside the automaker's assembly plant in Antwerp November 4, 2009. REUTERS/Thierry Roge/Files

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

1899: Opel’s sons, who took over the business, bought a car factory. They built their first automobile that year.

1928: Opel claimed the spot as Germany’s biggest carmaker, with a market share of 38 percent.

1929: General Motors bought Opel.

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

1999: GM Europe made a profit.

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

Nov 2008: GM faced a liquidity squeeze. Opel asked Germany for state loan guarantees.

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

Feb 2009: General Motors presented a restructuring plan to the U.S. government, put its Swedish carmaker Saab up for sale and announced $1.2 billion of cost cuts in Europe.

June 2009: GM filed for bankruptcy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct 31, 2012: General Motors Europe (GME) outlined a target to achieve break-even EBIT-adjusted results by mid-decade through a focus on growth and cost efficiencies.

Dec 2012: GM decided to close Bochum on Dec. 10, 2012. The last car came off the production line on Dec. 6, 2014 with closure costs of at least $866 million.

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

Oct 2013: PSA and GM said they are scaling back their alliance.

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

Dec 5, 2013: General Motors said 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 announced that company veteran Mary Barra will become CEO of GM 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 took 14 percent stakes in PSA in a 3 billion euro capital increase. The Peugeot family saw 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.

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

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

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

Jan 13, 2016: GM raised its profit outlook and said 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.

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

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

Mar 11, 2016: GM bought Cruise Automation, a San Francisco self-driving vehicle startup.

Jul 2016: GM said it may need to cut costs in Europe to offset up to $400 million of potential headwinds triggered by Britain’s Brexit vote.

Jan 10, 2017: GM said it expected its earnings for 2016 at the high end of its previous forecast and said profits will rise in 2017.

Jan 29, 2017: GM presented 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’ full-year results 2016 revealed Europe had made a $300 million euros adjusted EBIT loss.

Feb 14, 2017: Reuters revealed General Motors is exploring a sale of its European arm Opel to French carmaker PSA Group.

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

Feb 15, 2017: Paris-based PSA said it would despatch CEO Carlos Tavares to meet German labour and political leaders likely to include Chancellor Angela Merkel, as his GM counterpart Mary Barra visited Opel headquarters near Frankfurt.

Feb 17, 2017: Germany’s Economy Minister said she expects PSA Group’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 Group announced its first dividend in six years and raised its medium-term profitability goal after full-year profit almost doubled.

Mar 6, 2017: General Motors Co. and PSA Group said 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.

Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath

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