August 19, 2009 / 5:42 PM / 9 years ago

Opel suitor RHJ's cash balance dips 12.5 pct

BRUSSELS, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Belgian private equity firm RHJ International RHJI.BR, which is competing with Canada’s Magna MGa.TO to buy carmaker Opel, had about 380 million euros ($535.9 million) available to invest at the end of July.

The parent company’s cash balance was 12.5 percent lower than at end-March, RHJ said in a statement on Wednesday, attributing the drop to additional investments in two holdings, a recently completed share buyback plan and a stake sale.

The figures were part of the company’s first trading update for the fiscal year ending March 2010.

General Motors’ [GM.UL] board of directors is set to meet on Friday to discuss the sale of Opel, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German states with Opel plants favouring Magna.

German Deputy Economy Minister Jochen Homann said Germany could provide 4.5 billion euros in upfront state aid for Opel if General Motors picks Magna.

RHJ, which is seeking less European state aid for its plan to buy Opel, has won support from some GM officials.

The company said its portfolio was worth 890.3 million euros at end-July, up 0.7 percent from the end of March, while its book value per share rose to 10.4 euros. It did not mention its Opel bid in its trading update.

RHJ’s holdings include Japanese automotive and auto parts companies Asahi Tec and Niles, Luxembourg-based car parts firm Honsel International, media group Columbia Music and Japanese resort Phoenix. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by John Stonestreet)

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