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Sweden refuses to fill capital hole in Saab deal

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Sweden refuses to fill capital hole in Saab deal
Jöran Hägglund: Sweden will not finance the deal.
10:07 CEST+02:00
The Swedish government has refused a request from Koenigsegg Group to lend a reported additional 3 billion kronor ($412 million) to enable the firm to complete the purchase of Saab Automobile AB from ailing US giant General Motors.

"We have received a request, but it is not our current position. The financial instruments that we have available are the loan guarantees. We have been clear with Koenigsegg that this is the case," Jöran Hägglund, under-secretary of state at the ministry of enterprise, said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Christian von Koenigsegg meanwhile argued on Wednesday that the Swedish state is a core part of the deal.

"We see this as a deal between three parties; General Motors, Koenigsegg Group and the Swedish state," he said to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

He confirmed that the company was experiencing problems securing finance to complete the deal and argued that the government is in a position to assist.

"We have tried to find financing for around 30 percent of the total capital requirement, which equates to around 3 billion kronor. But as the banking system is not currently functioning normally it is reasonable to expect to be able to secure a bridging loan until we can secure the capital," he told SvD.

But Hägglund pointed out that the government has consistently opposed such a move.

"We have made it clear that the Swedish tax payer will not go in and finance a whole deal between Koenigsegg and GM with regard to Saab. Had that been the case we would have bought the company in the first place."

"We have also been clear about how substantial the loan guarantees can be. This is dependent in part on how large the loans EIB (the European Investment Bank) decide that they can provide and naturally that there is security in place that covers such a loan," he added.

Hägglund was clear that the Swedish National Debt Office (Riksgälden) was ready to act on the loan guarantees as soon as the EIB had approved the loans - a decision that will be taken on September 22nd.

"When the board of the EIB can take a decision over the loans, then the other required decisions - the Swedish government's blessing, the loan guarantees and the EU Commission's examination of the deal - should be ready as soon as possible so that the delay between a decision and payment is short," he said.

Hägglund underlined that the government welcomed the announcement on Tuesday that a stock purchase agreement had been signed between the Koenigsegg Group and GM.

"It is of course important as a first step to establish an independent Saab Automobile, but most of the work to achieve this goal remains."

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