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Spyker chief opens door to Russian owner

TT/AFP/The Local · 16 Feb 2010, 10:35

Published: 16 Feb 2010 10:35 GMT+01:00

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Despite media reports suggesting the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) had found links with organized crime, Vladimir Antonov was close to becoming a shareholder in Saab until the US FBI put a stop to his involvement.

Viktor Muller was then obliged to present a plan for the buying out of the Russian businessmen from Spyker to enable the purchase of Saab from General Motors to be approved by the Swedish and US governments.

In an interview with the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper, Muller has said Vladimir Antonov intends to prove that the accusations against him are false and that he expects the Russian to return to the company as a shareholder.

"Of course he is welcome back. He has been a fantastic support for the company," Viktor Muller told SvD.

Antonov however has an agreement with General Motors whereby he can not return to Spyker without the prior consent of the US car firm. This has widely been reported to have been a concession to a demand forwarded by the FBI.

The Local reported at the end of last week that two of the key remaining pieces of the puzzle required to complete the takeover of the troubled Swedish car maker had fallen into place.

On Friday the European Investment Bank gave the all clear for the completion of a €400 million ($546 million) loan to Saab Automobile and agreed that the loan would be guaranteed by the Swedish state.

Earlier on Friday Spyker shareholders voted to approve the purchase of Saab Automobile from General Motors.

Spyker and GM reached a deal in January for the sale of Saab for $74 million

Story continues below…

in cash and about $326 million worth of redeemable preferred shares to be retained by the American giant.

Saab's future had been in doubt throughout 2009 as GM, itself going through bankruptcy, radically restructured its business and tried to sell off what it saw as non-core and unprofitable assets.

Spyker, a minnow in the global auto industry, manufactured 21 cars in the first quarter of 2009 and sold 23. It has a workforce of about 90 assembly workers while Saab has 3,400 employees in Sweden alone.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

20:26 February 16, 2010 by GLO
Spyker is a great company. Size depends on the market. They competet in a small market. The better question ? are they a profitable co in this market segment.

The only Question ? Can they build a car people want??? The present product offering is not profitable to build and sell...So, who will design a car Saab can build at a low cost in Sweden and sell in a very changing market ???

Spyker needs a new product people want in great numbers...

Price point much lower....

Where are the new concepts in the car bus ??? Spyker better not do the same thing as past Mgt. Good luck Saab-Spyker....
10:14 February 17, 2010 by foriegner
Good luck with that. After all there are so many innocent mobsters out there.
00:38 February 18, 2010 by jack sprat
@GLO"Spyker is a great company"????????????

Spyker have not made a profit in any of their six years operation.

Not only that, but their losses in relation to number of cars built and size of their operation are astronomical by any standards.

The loan money which the EU and Sweden have been duped into giving them will be swallowed up just covering first year losses, before they can even start to turn things around,that is IF they even intend to try turning things around.

The whole business stinks to high heaven, and I fear for the Swedish taxpayers and workers.

I'd be happy to be proved wrong and hope and wish for the best,....but I must confess I fear the worst.
04:51 February 18, 2010 by Ghostrider
Well said Jack Sprat.

Egotistical Gangters? Really?

11:42 February 19, 2010 by spy
jack sprat

Sweden is NOT giving Spyker a loan! Infact Sweden is not giving a loan to Saab either. Saab is actually getting an Europen Investment Bank (EIB) loan - if you still don't understand this concept then go and ask an adult.

You also say 'they have been duped' into giving a loan - what is this statement based on? Clearly it can't be an expert opinion.
02:44 February 20, 2010 by repat_xpat
True to form spy: Condescending, derogatorily, and insulting to anyone who might not share your opinion. You might be losing your touch though, you didn't encourage anyone to play in the road and you didn't misquote (some call that "libel"). I'm sure you will make up for it when you reply to this.

There is more going on here than can be seen on the surface. Its interesting that a real Gangster is going to save SAAB from "Gangsta Motors". How many real mobsters are in the business of saving jobs?

I'm glad Victor Antonov isn't my savior. I still worry for SAAB.
23:23 February 21, 2010 by Scotsaab

My goodness you're quite a specimen - bitter, ghostsmart, ignorant and with no grasp on law or legal difinition. Try and learn from 'spy' and drop your imature ganster referencees. Try and move this blog on in a supportive frame. Your contribution to the professions seems to be one potentially of negativity and spite.

Profess your "fears" for Saab as much as you like - I wouldn't have you on board a pro-Saab team for all the tea in China. You seem to revel in the very thought of schadenfreude as far athe efforts to save Saab are concerned.

Leave the new ownership and national Government of Sweden to work this promising restart out for themselves with the guidance of the EU. They may not be perfect, but they have a greater grasp on relaity that you will ever have.
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