News/Case Summaries

Spyker: cash plan for Saab stalled

By MALIN RISING Associated Press

April 26, 2011

Conditions proposed by the European Investment Bank are stalling plans to secure short-term financing for troubled automaker Saab, owner Spyker Cars said Tuesday.

Spyker said it would meet EIB officials later Tuesday but is also considering other financial options with partners, including Chinese car manufacturers.

Saab desperately needs money to pay suppliers and restart its plant in southwestern Sweden, where production has been at a standstill for three weeks.

Spyker planned to sell the Saab property to Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov but needs the approval of the EIB.

It said the bank has agreed only to a partial sale of the property and wants Saab to refinance the sale or replace the purchaser "within a limited period of time."

It also said EIB has imposed conditions on General Motors, which sold the brand to Spyker in 2010, the Swedish National Debt Office and the Swedish Ministries of Finance and Enterprise.

Shares in Spyker fell by 5.8 percent to euro4.00 ($5.83) on the Amsterdam stock exchange.

Separately Tuesday, Antonov met with the director general of the Swedish National Debt Office, Bo Lundgren, in Stockholm to discuss his bid to become part-owner of Saab and provide the brand with long-term funds.

The Russian multimillionaire has said he would be prepared to invest euro50 million ($70.4 million) in Saab and would seek a 29.9 percent stake.

He needs the approval of the debt office because Sweden has guaranteed a loan to Saab from the EIB.

"We have obviously discussed his background, (and) we have discussed what his ambitions are if he becomes an owner of Saab," Lundgren told reporters after the meeting, but declined to say anything about his conclusions.

The debt office will now review the information it received. Lundgren said he hopes a decision can be made within a few days.

Antonov, who used to be part-owner of Spyker, was forced out by GM during the sale of Saab amid reports of alleged money laundering. He has denied those allegations and has never been charged.

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