February 17, 2017 / 8:15 AM / 2 years ago

Britain says PSA bosses wish to build on Vauxhall's success

The logo of Peugeot is seen at a dealership of the brand in Strasbourg, France, February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

LONDON (Reuters) - Bosses at the Peugeot-maker PSA Group (PEUP.PA) have told the British government they would seek to build on the strengths of the Vauxhall car business if they succeed in buying its parent company, Opel.

Britain’s Business minister Greg Clark went to Paris on Thursday evening to meet French politicians and PSA executives to discuss their plan to buy the European operations of General Motors (GM.N), Opel, which include the Vauxhall plants in Britain.

The talks have set political alarm bells ringing in Britain and Germany, where there are fears that a sale could lead to heavy job losses at the two businesses.

In a short statement Clark said the PSA executives had “stressed that they valued highly the enduring strength of the Vauxhall brand, underpinned by its committed workforce.”

“While discussions are still on-going, they made clear to me that in any deal these were strengths they would wish to build on,” he said. Clark had previously contacted GM President Dan Ammann to express concern over the future of Opel’s UK plants.

Clark said on Thursday he had been reassured by General Motors that the firm did not intend to “rationalize” its Vauxhall operations in Britain.

Germany expects the proposed acquisition to go ahead, a German minister said on Thursday.

Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Adrian Croft

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