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Spyker lined up to buy Saab: GM

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14:31 CET+01:00
General Motors has revealed that Dutch sportscar maker Spyker is the only firm in the running for the acquisition of Saab Automobile, Reuters reports.

Earlier in the day, Jöran Hägglund, state secretary in the Swedish enterprise ministry, said there was "one main lead", without revealing the identity of the prospective buyer.

"We, both the European Investment Bank and the Swedish government, have been given one main lead that we are beginning to analyze, though we are also looking more broadly at a few other interested parties," Hägglund told Sveriges Radio

Swedish luxury carmaker Koenigsegg and a Chinese partner, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. (BAIC), gave up their joint bid for Saab last month, citing costly delays in the transaction.

The European Investment Bank had already given Saab the green light for a €400 million ($600 million) loan during Koenigsegg's negotiations based on its business plan for Saab, but the Swedish government had yet to agree to act as guarantor when Koenigsegg withdrew its offer.

Hägglund refused to be drawn on the name of the new potential buyer, but Swedish media reports have suggested it is Dutch sports car maker Spyker.

GM "is now putting all its energy into concluding the necessary negotiations in order to meet the deadline set for the end of the year," Hägglund said.

Saab has barely turned a profit in two decades.

The Swedish centre-right government has repeatedly refused to take a stake in the car maker, arguing that the state should not own companies -- and especially not one that a major corporation like GM has been unable to turn around.

On Monday, BAIC announced it had agreed to acquire the technology for Saab's outgoing 9-3 and 9-5 car models, turbine engines and gearboxes for an undisclosed sum.

Swedish financial daily Dagens Industri on Tuesday valued the sale at 1.4 billion kronor ($194 million), saying that was enough to keep the crisis-ridden iconic brand afloat until the end of the first quarter.

Saab, which built its first prototype cars in 1947, risks closure if no buyer is found.

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