Saab CEO denies Fiat merger rumours

Saab CEO denies Fiat merger rumours
The head of Saab Automobile on Tuesday denied rumours that the Swedish automaker was in discussions with Italy’s Fiat over a possible takeover.

According to Saab CEO Jan Åke Jonsson, there are a number of serious bidders for Saab Automobile, but Fiat isn’t among those currently in discussions with the struggling Swedish carmaker.

“It was the head of Fiat who put two and two together and turned it into four, but that’s nothing I want to speculate about. We aren’t holding any discussions with Fiat,” Jonsson told the Södermanlands Nyheter newspaper on Monday night.

Fiat-head Sergio Marchionne on Monday announced plans to create a new European auto giant by combining Fiat, US-based Chrysler, and Alfa Romeo with the General Motors European brands Opel, Vauxhall, and Saab.

Eventually, the combined company would be spun off from the rest of the Fiat industrial conglomerate and listed as a stand-alone car company.

Jonsson added that around ten interested buyers have visited Saab’s Trollhättan headquarters in western Sweden, although he refrained from naming any of Saab’s suitors.

“We’re expecting an indication of their interest this week,” he said.

Marchionne traveled to Berlin on Monday to discuss Fiat’s plans for Opel with the German finance minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

“From a technical and industrial point of view this is a marriage made in heaven,” he said of the plans to merge with Opel.

The state secretary at Sweden’s industry ministry in charge of managing the government’s response to the auto industry crisis, Jöran Hägglund, confirmed Monday that Fiat had made contact with the Swedish government, but declined to elaborate.

“The Swedish government has also had contact with Fiat. But overall we don’t have much more to say right now,” Hägglund told the TT news agency.

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