Opel to invest in Hungarian engine production facility

February 13, 2013 - 4:55:29 am
BUDAPEST: German carmaker Opel, part of US auto giant General Motors, said yesterday it is expanding its Hungarian plant with an engine production facility costing ¤120m ($161.0m).General Motors has a strategic tie-up with deeply troubled French group PSA Peugeot Citroen.
Opel is regarded as a struggling branch of GM and is in particularly difficult talks over the future of a plant in Germany.
Joachim Koschnicke, Opel’s deputy president, told a joint press conference held with Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban in Budapest that the new production facility at its Szentgotthard plant in western Hungary would be “one of the most modern in the world”. The new facility, expected to begin operating by the middle of next year, will produce a new 1.6-litre direct injection (SIDI) engines. “It will comprise around 1,600 square metres and create over 100 new jobs,” Koschnicke said.
Opel’s total investment in Hungary now comes to about 1.4 billion euros since the company first came to Szentgotthard in 1990, he added. In 2012, Opel produced 293,000 engines at Szentgotthard, 30 percent more than in 2011. Koschnicke said that the new facility will house 80 new machines able to produce an extra 100,000 units per year. 
Iberia presses for major job cuts   
MADRID: Spanish airline Iberia pressed ahead with its job cuts plan yesterday, saying it was now aiming for 3,807 redundancies, despite a threat by unions to take strike action later this month. Iberia, part of the International Airline Group, has said the job reductions are necessary to allow the loss-making airline to return to growth. 
The job cuts will comply with Spanish labour laws, Iberia said in a statement, which allow pay-offs of only a year’s salary.
Iberia had originally planned to axe 4,500 jobs, a quarter of its workforce, but later presented unions with a plan for 30 percent fewer reductions. Unions rejected the proposal and called for strikes over 15 days between February and March. The plan for the job reductions will now undergo a formal 30-day consultation process with unions, Iberia said.
Sipchem signs $276m refinancing deals  
KHOBAR: Three affiliates of Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) have refinanced loan facilities worth SR1.04bn ($276m) which were used to fund their key projects, Sipchem said yesterday.
International Acetyl Company, International Vinyl Acetate Company and International Gas Company have converted dollar-denominated loans raised in 2008 to build respective manufacturing plants into new long-term facilities denominated in riyals, the statement to the Saudi bourse said. Riyad Bank was the lead arranger of the deal, which carried a “competitive variable interest rate” as well as a six-month grace period.