Antonov pledges $100 million for Saab deal

Vladimir Antonov, the Russian businessman and backer of Spyker Cars, has pledged that he is ready to lend $100 million to the Dutch car maker in order to finance their takeover of Saab, according to details from an interview with news agency Reuters.

Antonov, who was forced to step aside as a condition of the takeover of Sweden’s Saab, confirmed to Reuters that the first instalment of $25 million to be paid to General Motors came from banks controlled by him.

He underlined furthermore that he would like to remain as a majority shareholder in Spyker Cars, which is working to secure the funds to complete the $74 million takeover.

To date Spyker CEO Victor Muller has been reticent on the details as to where the money for the takeover is due to come from. He has so far confirmed only that it is his firm Tenaci that will transfer the money, funded with further loans.

Vladimir Antonov is Spyker Cars largest shareholder with 30 percent of the shares. His Convers Group banking arm has provided loans amounting to 580 million kronor to the heavily indebted sports car maker, according to media reports.

In a Spyker press release issued at the beginning of February, Muller explained that Vladimir Antonov’s current shareholding of 4.6 million ordinary shares in Spyker has been bought by Tenaci – a holding firm directly owned by Victor Muller, “subject to the closing of the Saab acquisition.”

Muller also stated that Spyker’s debt mountain will be written over to Tenaci upon completion of the deal.

As the “Saab acquisition” is not set to be completed until July 15th, when the remaining instalment falls due, the Antonovs are set to remain in the picture for the foreseeable future. Vladimir Antonov’s latest comments indicate that his intentions extend beyond that point and that he remains closely linked to the deal.

The Local has previously reported that a Swedish government investigation into the dealings of the Russian Antonov family had caused the FBI to order GM to pull out of the deal in December. The troubled US car giant has been widely reported to hold a veto on the Antonovs’ involvement in Spyker-Saab.

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