RUESSELSHEIM, Germany (Reuters) -- General Motors' German unit Opel today agreed to a restructuring plan that aims to save as many jobs and factories as possible but needs 3.3 billion euros ($4.18 billion) in state aid, GM officials said.
The idea is to split off Opel into a separate unit that would remain linked to its stricken U.S. parent while letting outside investors take a stake of more than a quarter, GM Europe President Carl-Peter Forster told a news conference on Friday.
GM Europe would include UK unit Vauxhall into the new corporate entity. The spinoff could range from 25 percent to 50 percent of the company.
"GM could be a majority shareholder in the new business structure with more than 50 percent," a GM Europe source told Automotive News Europe.
There are still no decisions about plant closures or forced layoffs, Forster said.
Through the restructuring and using conservative market assumptions, GM Europe/Opel aims to become profitable by 2011.
The Opel supervisory board meeting came a day after thousands of workers protested in Ruesselsheim, calling for an independent Opel after 80 years as a unit of GM. It is the first carmaker in Europe to ask for government support to survive.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, facing an election in September, wants to save as many of the roughly 25,000 German jobs at Opel as possible and the government has said it will consider granting financing guarantees once it has seen the revamp plan.