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Sweden says GM still hopes to find buyer for Saab


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Sweden says GM still hopes to find buyer for Saab

NOVEMBER 25, 2009 12:16 CET

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -- A Swedish government official said on Wednesday that General Motors Co. appeared to still have hopes of being able to sell its Saab unit after the wheels came off of a planned divestment this week.

"I talked to GM last night and my impression is that they have not given up hope," Joran Hagglund, state secretary at Sweden's Industry Ministry, told reporters.

Sweden on Tuesday effectively ruled out a state bailout of money-losing Saab after tiny luxury car firm Koenigsegg pulled out of a bid for one of the Nordic country's best-known automobile brands.

Finding a new buyer would be a race against time, Swedish Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson acknowledged.

"For every day that passes the challenge gets bigger and bigger," she told reporters.

GM's board has a regular monthly meeting scheduled next week, and the question of what to do with Saab will now lead the agenda, a person with direct knowledge of the situation said.

No other bidders have so far emerged for the brand, meaning GM's only options would be to restart the sale process or to wind down the business, the more likely option, the person said.

China's BAIC, which had been part of the Koenigsegg-led consortium negotiating for Saab, said it was studying its options and reiterated its commitment to become more international. Analysts said it was unlikely to bid for the whole of Saab alone, but might buy some of the assets.

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