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Sweden denies it has OK'ed state aid for Saab


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Sweden denies it has OK'ed state aid for Saab

January 25, 2010 13:16 CET

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -- The Swedish government said on Monday it had taken no decision on whether to grant state guarantees for European Investment Bank loans to Saab as part of a possible purchase by Dutch luxury car maker Spyker Cars NV from General Motors Co.

"No, there was no decision on Saab," Frank Nilsson, press secretary to enterprise minister Maud Olofsson, said after a cabinet meeting.

Earlier on Monday, Swedish television reported without disclosing its sources that Spyker would unveil an agreement to buy Saab and that the government had agreed to guarantee loans for the deal.

Sverige Television also reported that the deal was done following approval of a key €400 million loan from the EIB.

The Dutch luxury carmaker is expected to present the purchase during a news conference on Monday, a Swedish Television program reported, without citing sources. The report also said Swedish officials would hold a meeting at 14:30 CET to discuss the loan guarantees.

“Yes, the government will hold and extra meeting this afternoon about a number of issues, but the question of loan guarantees will also probably come up,” enterprise ministry deputy director Hans G. Pettersson told the TT news agency.

Pettersson added that he can't confirm that the deal between GM and Spyker is finished.

“Even if things look good now, it has happened before that someone falls at the goal line. It's not finished until both parties go out with it,” he said.

Saab Automobile declined to comment.

Spyker Chief Executive Victor Muller said he had no immediate comment on the negotiations and a spokesman for General Motors in Europe also declined to comment.

Rival bidder fears fight is over

Lars Carlstrom, the spokesman for rival bidder Genii Capital, said there was still a chance that the deal could be derailed, but expected an announcement later on Monday.

"As long as they have not signed there is a chance (of the sale not happening) yet it's most likely we will see an outcome of this today," he told Reuters.

General Motors announced on Dec. 18 it was winding down the 60-year-old Swedish carmaker following the failure of sale negotiations with prospective buyer Koenigsegg Group AB.

Two wind-down supervisors took control of Saab earlier this month, but GM said it was continuing to evaluate offers during the wind-down process after Spyker and other parties submitted updated bids for the money-losing brand.

Spyker has been in negotiations with GM over the weekend in Stockholm and is seen close to clinching a deal. Lars Carlstrom, of the Genii bid, said Spyker was no longer relying on financing from the Russian Antonov family, one of its shareholders.

"Antonov will be taken out of the deal through a requirement from the U.S. government," he said

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20100125/ANE/301259924/1193#ixzz0ddazeGBl

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