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Swedish group eyes Saab sale: report

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09:45 CET+01:00
A group led by a Swedish truck industry veteran and a former government minister has expressed an interest in buying Saab Automobile from US owner General Motors.

The new group is fronted by Håkan Samuelsson, a 58-year-old Swede who quit as chief executive officer of German engineering and truck manufacturer MAN in November, and Jan Nygren, a former Social Democratic cabinet minister and ex-deputy chief executive of defence materiel group Saab, financial daily Dagens Industri said.

The newspaper said it was not known who was financing the Swedes' bid.

However, it said the group's business plan aimed for a scaled-down Saab Automobile that would build 45,000 to 50,000 cars a year, and would not require a loan from the European Investment Bank.

In 2008, the last year for which figures are available, Saab sold 93,295 cars worldwide.

GM announced plans to wind down the iconic, loss-making Swedish brand on December 18 after failing to reach an agreement with Spyker, but has said it would continue to consider bids for the group.

Spyker on Thursday presented a revised offer to GM. The details were not disclosed.

Meanwhile, British media reports Friday said Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone had teamed up with a Luxembourg investment firm to launch a last-minute rescue bid for Saab.

Luxembourg-based Genii Capital announced it was interested in making an offer with Ecclestone, just as the deadline for final bids for Saab expired at 2200 GMT Thursday, the BBC reported.

The privately-held firm said it would "aggressively work towards a successful closing of the transaction with all the relevant stakeholders of the company," according to the BBC.

Saab, which employs 3,400 people in Sweden, is one of four storied brands being shed by GM as part of a massive restructuring effort that began in 2005 accelerated last year when the largest US automaker went bankrupt.

Analysts have warned that some 8,000 jobs could be lost with Saab's closure.

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