Germany has a plan to protect the assets of carmaker Opel from
creditors if its U.S. parent General Motors is forced into bankruptcy
next month, German Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said in
an interview with a German weekly.

In the interview with Der Spiegel magazine published on Saturday,
Guttenberg urged those investors interested in acquiring GM's European
operations, including Opel, to move fast given the threat to the U.S.

We want rapid, reliable information from the investors
because we can't rule out that GM in the United States will have to
file for bankruptcy at the beginning of June, Guttenberg said.

could come at the same time interested parties are finalizing a deal
with GM on Opel. Then we need to ensure Opel assets are protected from
creditors. We are preparing for this scenario.

Italian carmaker
Fiat is seeking a three-way merger with Chrysler and GM's European
operations. Austrian-Canadian car parts maker Magna is also interested
in pursuing Opel, most likely in concert with Russian investors.

said in the event of a GM bankruptcy, Opel assets could be handed over
to a trustee who would ensure the interests of creditors. At the same
time, a consortium of banks could provide Opel with bridge financing.

In this way the firm's continued existence would be assured until a final deal (with investors) was reached, Guttenberg said.

senior German official told Reuters in Abu Dhabi, where Guttenberg was
traveling on Saturday, that the government could also provide bridge
financing for Opel.

In the magazine interview, however, Guttenberg ruled out the government taking a stake in the carmaker to help tide it over.