Top contenders for Saab purchase named

Three bidders from three different countries are said to be the most likely buyers for Saab Automobile, according to an unnamed source with Saab's owner, General Motors (GM).

Top contenders for Saab purchase named

China-based Geely, Italy’s Fiat, and a German bank are the three bidders most likely to buy Saab from GM, a source from the company told the Göteborgs Tidning (GT) newspaper.

The source added, however, that the head of GM, Fritz Henderson, still doesn’t want to sell the troubled Swedish unit.

“The Chinese bid is finished, but Henderson is afraid of competition,” the source told GT.

According to Saab administrator Guy Lofalk, each of the bidders has signed on to Saab’s plan for reconstructing the debt-laden automaker, which include moving the manufacturing site for the new Saab 9-5 to the plant in Trollhättan in western Sweden.

In the coming days, Lofalk hopes to convince Saab’s 700 creditors to write down 75 percent of the company’s 10.6 billion kronor in debt ($1.4 billion).

He also looks forward to signing an initial agreement with one of the buyers by early June.

“Things look quite good now. I hope that it stays that way until the end, but nothing is done until it’s done. When things look the most dismal, the situation can suddenly improve, and vice versa,” Lofalk told the TT news agency

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Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court

Swedish car maker Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson and the firm's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have appeared in court in Vänersborg in west Sweden, accused of falsifying financial documents shortly before the company went bankrupt in 2011.

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court
Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. Photo: Karin Olander/TT
The pair are accused of falsifying the paperwork at the height of the Swedish company's financial difficulties at the start of the decade.
A third person – who has not been named in the Swedish media – is accused of assisting them by issuing false invoices adding up to a total of 30 million kronor ($3.55m).
According to court documents, the charges relate to the firm's business in Ukraine and the paperwork in question was signed just before former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson resigned.
Both Jonsson and Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have admitted signing the papers but denied knowledge of the Ukranian firm implicated in the case.
All three suspects deny all the charges against them.

Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers. Photo:  Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
Saab filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2011, after teetering on the edge of collapse for nearly two years.
Chief prosecutor Olof Sahlgren told the court in Vänersborg on Wednesday that the alleged crimes took place in March 2011, when Saab was briefly owned by the Dutch company Spyker Cars.
It was eventually bought by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), a Chinese-owned company after hundreds of staff lost their jobs.
The car maker, which is based in west Sweden, has struggled to resolve serious financial difficulties by attracting new investors since the takeover.
In October 2014 it announced it had axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce.
Since 2000, Saab automobile has had no connection with the defence and aeronautics firm with the same name. It only produces one model today, the electric 9-3 Aero Sedan, mainly targeting the Chinese market.