Trading in Spyker halted on Dutch exchange

Trading in Dutch sports car maker Spyker has been halted on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange as speculation mounts about a takeover of Saab Automobile.

The Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) announced that it had given instructions to suspend trading in Spyker shares at 1.45pm.

Shares in Spyker Cars rocketed almost 80 percent on Monday as rumours about the deal gathered pace.

“We’re going to be able to give more information later but I can’t say anything right now and I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to give notification today,” said Spyker spokesman Mike Stainton.

Stainton didn’t deny that the stop in trading was related to the Saab deal.

“That’s a conclusion you are free to make, but nothing I can comment on,” he told TT.

Spyker CEO Victor Muller was also coy when asked about the trading stop, but appeared more bullish on the pace of negotiations.

“I can’t comment now, but there will definitely be some information later today,” he told financial news website E24.

Negotiations between General Motors (GM) and Spyker Cars about the sale of Saab Automobile continued on Tuesday, as questions about financing remained.

“There’s no news right now,” Muller wrote in a text message to the TT news agency shortly after 1pm.

As Muller continues his quest to convince the US auto giant that his company can assemble the financing necessary to pull off the purchase of Saab, Dutch billionaire Marcel Boekhoorn on Tuesday denied that he was going to help finance the deal.

“Marcel Boekhoorn affirms that he is not involved in Spyker Cars’ purchase of Saab,” read a statement received by TT.

“He has no further comments,” Boekhoorn’s secretary told TT.

Boekhoorn owns 3.84 percent of the shares in Spyker and serves as an advisor to CEO Muller, although he does his best to avoid publicity.

On Monday, the 50-year-old investment mogul was reportedly brought into the Spyker deal to ease GM concerns about a group of Russian investors who had previously agreed to back the bid.

Meanwhile, politicians in Belgium are trying to convince Spyker to move Saab’s production from its base in Trollhättan in western Sweden to Antwerp, according to Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad.

Antwerp is home to an Opel plant which General Motors (GM) is planning to shut down in June. A Dutch-Belgian car company could be created which would save 2,500 jobs at the Opel factory.

Spyker would receive a loan guarantee worth 1 billion kronor ($137 million) as part of the deal, which comes as part of a proposal put forward from the Flemish political party, Lijst Dedecker.

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