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GM threat to Saab sale 'regrettable': minister

AFP/The Local · 8 Nov 2011, 14:27

Published: 08 Nov 2011 14:27 GMT+01:00

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"That was a regrettable announcement," Swedish Enterprise Minister Annie Lööf told reporters in Stockholm.

Her comment came a day after GM said it would end technology-sharing licences to Saab and stop supplying the 9-4X SUV model to its insolvent former subsidiary if it were acquired by Chinese companies Pang Da and Youngman.

But GM said it would still supply some components.

That announcement jeopardises a last-ditch deal reached by the two firms last week with Saab's current Dutch owner, Swedish Automobile, or Swan to buy the beleagured carmaker for €100 million euros ($134 million) and supply €610 million in long term funding.

Saab, which halted production six months ago as suppliers stopped deliveries owing to mountains of unpaid bills, would also receive €50 million in immediate bridge-financing to keep it afloat during its ongoing restructuring under bankruptcy protection.

The deal, the last in a long line of schemes presented by Swan's charismatic chief executive Victor Muller in recent months to rescue Saab, was hailed in Sweden as a real chance at salvation for the carmaker but still requires a green light from a number of interested parties, including GM.

"When we last week saw the possible Chinese solution it was truly a joyous occasion. But with GM's announcement yesterday (Monday) that they are saying

no to this solution we now have a spanner in the works. They have to start all

over again," Lööf said.

GM sold an already bankruptcy-prone Saab in early 2010 to Swan - at the

time called Spyker - for $400 million, had already announced at the weekend

it was considering blocking the deal, which it said "could negatively impact

GM's existing relationships in China or otherwise adversely affect GM's

interests worldwide."

A spokesperson for Pang Da told Swedish news agency TT the two Chinese

Story continues below…

companies were working hard to resolve the GM stumbling block, and Lööf said

the Swedish government was "acting as a door-opener in the contacts between

Chinese authorities and GM."

However, she stressed, "at the end of the day, it is the parties, Saab and the Chinese (firms), who need to reach a deal... Now (Saab's court-appointed) administrator and the private parties need to sit down at the negotiation table and find a long-term solution for Saab and its employees."

Saab currently employs some 3,700 people, but has said it is planning around 500 lay-offs as part of the pending Chinese deal.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:22 November 8, 2011 by McChatter
17:58 November 8, 2011 by Gm_Tuzik
GM is a truly sneaky bast....
18:46 November 8, 2011 by millionmileman
Now the Swedish Government wants to get involved! A Day late on a Krona short!

Now the Government really needs to step up to the plate.
20:32 November 8, 2011 by spy
Realistically it is GM's prerogative to veto any deal - business is business. Hopefully the parties can find some common ground where they can all make a few bucks.
21:04 November 8, 2011 by calebian22
Saab was not the owner of the licenses, GM was/is. Pang Da is buying the Saab. If the Chinese want the separately owned GM licences they will need to pony up the yuan.
03:51 November 9, 2011 by repat_xpat
Duh! GM's 9-5 / Insignia technology is the only reason China wants to buy SAAB. Does anyone believe China is interested in the Trollhattan factory's record on efficiency? SAAB can not sell GM technology without GM's approval!
07:55 November 9, 2011 by RobinHood
For sale: one car company. Doesnt own the technology required to build its own cars. Going cheap.
02:52 November 10, 2011 by repat_xpat
Robinhood: I think you nailed it in as few words as possible.
15:44 November 11, 2011 by IWP
What did these dumb Sweedles expect? God knows they're usually the most duplicitous of nations (the WW2 history says it all) . If you sup with the Devil.........
21:23 November 17, 2011 by rumcajs
Dunno what they are afraid of..... with or without that technology, westerns won't prefer a Chinese car against to a car from...... anywhere else.
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