Fritz Henderson, the chief executive of General Motors GM.UL, expects that a deal to sell a majority in Opel to a Russian-backed consortium around Magna (MGa.TO) can be signed by the beginning of next month.
We're trying to get all things done by early October, he told reporters during the Frankfurt Motor Show on Wednesday.
GM plans to close a deal by the end of November, but Henderson said he would not rule out the time plan could slip by as much as a month for unforeseen reasons.
Nevertheless, Henderson rejected speculation that GM might still be examining alternatives to a Magna deal, which the chief negotiator on the Opel sale, John Smith, had criticized.
We want this deal to close -- period, the GM CEO said, adding that he could see no dealbreaker.
Henderson said that he believed Magna's restructuring plans for Opel, which include 10,500 job cuts in Europe, were sufficient, and that Opel's losses would narrow by a lot in 2010 compared with this year. The company could be profitable as early as 2011.
The GM CEO said that Opel's Belgian plant in Antwerp could face closure, saying the factory was not more efficient than Opel's plant in Bochum, Germany, the last time he looked at it.
No final decision has been reached, he said.
(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner)