Turkish ambassador: Saab CEO called us
Published: 20 Dec 2011 16:16 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Dec 2011 16:16 GMT+01:00
Turkey's ambassador in Stockholm on Tuesday denied reports that her country was interested in purchasing Saab Automobile, claiming Saab CEO Victor Muller had sought a meeting in a last ditch effort to save the company from bankruptcy.
Shortly after the Vänersborg District Court approved Saab's bankruptcy petition on Monday afternoon, Sveriges Television (SVT) reported that Turkey had been in contact with the Swedish government and Saab management to express its interest in purchasing the beleaguered Swedish automaker.
While Turkey's ambassador in Stockholm, Zergün Korutürk confirmed that she and other embassy officials met with Muller on December 14th, she explained that the meeting came at the request of the Saab CEO.
“The CEO of Saab came to see me at his own request at the embassy residence,” Korutürk told The Local.
She explained that during the meeting, Muller, referenced contacts he had in Turkey which had signaled to him that the country was interested in launching production of a Turkish automobile brand.
“He thought Saab would be a good choice” to help kick-start Turkey's domestic car production plans, Korutürk said of Muller's proposal.
“I told him I would inform the authorities in my country of all that he had told me.”
Korutürk explained that Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made no secret of his hope for Turkey to have a purely domestic auto brand.
She emphasized, however, that there are no negotiations underway between Turkey and Saab regarding a possible purchase.
“There's nothing more I can say because nothing else happened,” said Korutürk.
Meanwhile, Chinese automaker Youngman, whose decision to pull out of a deal to purchase Saab precipitated the Swedish carmaker's bankruptcy, is reportedly still interested in purchasing the Saab's assets.
According to Sveriges Radio (SR), a delegation from Youngman is set to travel to Saab headquarters in Trollhättan in western Sweden as early as Wednesday.
Bankruptcy administrator Hans Berqgvist confirmed that he had been in touch with Youngman and hopes to meet with representatives from the Chinese company before Christmas.
Youngman is interested in keeping Saab's Trollhättan plant open, but with production on a smaller scale than previously, the company's Swedish spokesperson, Johan Nylen with the Baker McKenzie law firm, told Swedish business daily Dagens Industri (DI).
However, any further production wouldn't likely start for at least two years, as it would take that long to develop a new model.