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Indian automaker places bid for Saab: report

India's Tata Motors has placed a $350 million bid to buy bankrupt Swedish car maker Saab Automobile, a newspaper report said Tuesday, citing people it said were close to the deal.

Indian automaker places bid for Saab: report
A 1992 file image of the 20th Brigade of the Royal Saudi Land Forces

“Tata’s global acquisition team has been in negotiations with Saab and private equity players for a prospective acquisition by its Jaguar-Land Rover unit,” the India Financial Express newspaper reported, quoting an unnamed source.

Tata Motors’ spokesman declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

Last month, Saab officials said that at least four companies had placed preliminary bids for a buy-out – most of them from outside Sweden.

Saab, owned by Dutch company Swedish Automobile (SWAN), filed for bankruptcy in December after numerous failed deals to keep it afloat.

All of Saab’s assets would be for sale, the company has said.

Tata Motors, which also makes the world’s cheapest car, the Nano, bought British luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover from US Ford Motor in 2008 for $2.3 billion as part of its plans to expand beyond Asia.

Tata Motors is likely to face competition from China’s Youngman, which has been keen to buy Saab and is reported to have made a preliminary bid of about

$300 million.

Indian auto and farm equipment maker Mahindra and Mahindra is also reported

to have placed a bid for Saab.

However, Tata Motors denies any plans to make a move on Saab.

“That is misinformation,” Ratan Tata told AFP, speaking after the unveiling of the Indian company’s new four-seater urban electric car, the Megapixel, at the Geneva Motor Show.

“We are making no move on SAAB,” he said.

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CARS

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court

Swedish car maker Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson and the firm's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have appeared in court in Vänersborg in west Sweden, accused of falsifying financial documents shortly before the company went bankrupt in 2011.

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court
Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. Photo: Karin Olander/TT
The pair are accused of falsifying the paperwork at the height of the Swedish company's financial difficulties at the start of the decade.
 
A third person – who has not been named in the Swedish media – is accused of assisting them by issuing false invoices adding up to a total of 30 million kronor ($3.55m).
 
According to court documents, the charges relate to the firm's business in Ukraine and the paperwork in question was signed just before former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson resigned.
 
Both Jonsson and Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have admitted signing the papers but denied knowledge of the Ukranian firm implicated in the case.
 
All three suspects deny all the charges against them.
 

Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers. Photo:  Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
 
Saab filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2011, after teetering on the edge of collapse for nearly two years.
 
Chief prosecutor Olof Sahlgren told the court in Vänersborg on Wednesday that the alleged crimes took place in March 2011, when Saab was briefly owned by the Dutch company Spyker Cars.
  
It was eventually bought by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), a Chinese-owned company after hundreds of staff lost their jobs.
 
The car maker, which is based in west Sweden, has struggled to resolve serious financial difficulties by attracting new investors since the takeover.
 
In October 2014 it announced it had axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce.
 
Since 2000, Saab automobile has had no connection with the defence and aeronautics firm with the same name. It only produces one model today, the electric 9-3 Aero Sedan, mainly targeting the Chinese market.