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Saab sells equipment for old 9-5 cars to China's BAIC, report says

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Saab sells equipment for old 9-5 cars to China's BAIC, report says

DECEMBER 4, 2009 06:01 CET

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -- Saab has sold the production equipment for its old 9-5 models to Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp. (BAIC), a newspaper reported.

Sweden's Ny Teknik newspaper, quoting unnamed sources, said that a deal has already been struck between Saab and China's No. 10 automaker for the production tools for the old 9-5 sedans.

The report, appearing on the newspaper's Web site on Thursday, said Saab had begun dismantling the production line for the old sedans in October as part of a plan to send the equipment to China and make way for its new 9-5 line due to start production early next year.

"I can't comment on this one way or another," Gunilla Gustavs, a Saab spokeswoman, told Reuters.

BAIC was forced to weigh its options alone after Koenigsegg Group AB, a consortium of U.S. and Norwegian private investors that includes supercar maker Koenigsegg Automotive AB, pulled out of talks to buy Saab last week, putting in doubt the future of the money-losing General Motors Co. unit.

BAIC wants to boost its international presence and analysts have said it could still bid for some Saab assets on its own but is unlikely to try for the whole company.

GM said this week it would consider offers for its Saab brand until the end of the month and move to close the Swedish unit then if it appears that it cannot be sold.

GM said there had been an outreach from several interested parties in the Saab brand, but declined to name those potential bidders.

Spyker Cars N.V., a small Dutch luxury car maker, said on Wednesday it is talking with GM about buying Saab, but declined to say whether it had submitted a bid. U.S. financier Ira Rennert and his Renco Group have also expressed an interest in pursuing a deal for the Swedish brand.

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