Fiat SpA, the Italian automaker, lost out last week to the Canadian car parts maker in bidding for Germany-based Opel and UK brand Vauxhall, but Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said the deal was not yet sealed.
The interest is still there, it doesn't depend on us, he told reporters on the margins of a police ceremony. The deal technically is not closed, we will see.
Marchionne added that Fiat had not yet used a 1 billion euro ($1.4 billion) line of credit from banks.
Fiat has said its focus is turning around ailing U.S. car maker Chrysler. Marchionne had seen Opel as key to his goal of putting Fiat in the top ranks of world automakers by output.
Berlin clinched a deal last week with Magna and the U.S. government that includes state-backed loans and loan guarantees worth 4.5 billion euros. The deal aims to shield the company and thousands of jobs from General Motors Corp's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
Magna International Inc and Russian bank Sberbank agreed in principle on May 29 to take a combined 55 percent stake in Opel, with Magna lending 300 million euros to cover short-term needs.
A German government spokesman said that while Magna's plan put it in a strong position it could not be ruled out that other bidders could improve on its offer.
Besides Fiat, China's Beijing Automotive Industry Corp (BAIC) has also shown interest in Opel. It has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to advise on a takeover bid, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday.
Although Magna's plan put it in a strong position, a German government spokesman said it could not be ruled out that other bidders could improve on its offer.
Besides Fiat, China's Beijing Automotive Industry Corp has also shown interest in Opel. It has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to advise it on a takeover bid, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday.
GM Europe Chief Executive Carl-Peter Forster said on Friday he expected a definitive agreement with Magna by July and the deal to close by September.
Writing on a GM Europe web log, he cautioned that although both parties were committed to completing the deal, much work remains and much could happen along the way.
In an interview with Austria's Format magazine, Magna co- Chief Executive Siegfried Wolf said he would keep Magna and Opel separate in the interest of Magna's other clients.