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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sberbank Brushes Off Chinese Rival for Opel

China’s state-run carmaker Beijing Automotive Industry Holding is preparing to make an offer for General Motors’ Opel unit in the coming days, a source said Thursday, but Sberbank, partner of frontrunner Magna, said the race was all but over.

BAIC, a local partner of German auto manufacturer Daimler assembling Mercedes Saloons in China, is working out a bid to be submitted before a mid-July deadline, a source familiar with the matter said.

General Motors has piled extra pressure on parts maker Magna by talking up rival offers from BAIC and Belgian investment firm RHJ International in the run-up to July 15, when Magna wants to be able to sign a deal.

BAIC declined to comment.

Majority control of Opel, which also includes plants in Britain and Spain, is being sold as a precondition to state aid for the German carmaker now that the bankrupt U.S. carmaker can no longer afford to finance its foreign subsidiary.

Sberbank, which is partnering with Magna and automaker GAZ, said BAIC, RHJ and a third rival, Fiat, were all effectively out of the race.

“I do not see any serious competition. The choice has been made, and the question now is of how to structure the deal,” CEO German Gref said.