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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Saab wants to avoid BAIC carve-up; hopes buyer can be found

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Saab wants to avoid BAIC carve-up; hopes buyer can be found

DECEMBER 8, 2009 11:46 CET

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -- Saab remains optimistic a buyer can be found for the whole company in the face of indications its owner, General Motors Co., is talking to China's Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp. about a partial sale of assets tied to the Swedish brand.

BAIC has made clear it has no interest in acquiring Saab's production hub in Trollhattan, Sweden, two sources said on Monday.

A move by BAIC to acquire tools and technology for an older generation of Saab cars for production in China could result in a liquidation of other assets held by the brand, threatening more than 3,000 Saab jobs in Sweden.

But Saab is still optimistic it can avoid being carved up.

"We've seen quite some interest over the last week or two, but we cannot go into closer detail more than to say that there are those interested in buying Saab in its entirety," spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs told Reuters.

She declined to comment on BAIC's plans.

Union leader Paul Akerlund said he had received no information implying BAIC wanted to pick and choose from Saab's assets.

"I have heard about this (in the news) this morning, but no, it is nothing I've been informed about," Akerlund said. "Naturally, I cannot know exactly what has been said, but that is something I take lightly. I simply don't believe it."

"The discussions going on are with what we regard as serious prospective buyers of Saab," he said.

Dutch luxury car maker Spyker Cars N.V. said last week it is talking to GM about buying Saab. U.S. financier Ira Rennert and his Renco Group have also expressed an interest in pursuing a deal.

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