Saab has made a last-gasp plea to avoid bankruptcy, claiming a new deal with investors is close

Saab Automobile submitted a last-minute plea to a Swedish district court for a few more days to present its argument why it should not be thrust into bankruptcy, claiming a new deal with Chinese backers Pang Da and Youngman could come "any time now".

"Just a few minutes before four o’clock, we sent a statement to the court that basically says 'we recognise that we were given an opportunity to file an opinion. We have not done that because we were at the final negotiation stage with our financial investors,'" said Gunilla Gustavs, Saab’s press officer.

The district court in Vanersborg had given the troubled Swedish car maker until 11am today (Thursday) to respond to the application by Guy Lofalk, the lawyer appointed to oversee the reconstruction process of the company, before it makes its ruling on Friday 28 October.

But the company failed to present a statement on time, only making its excuses minutes before the court closed.

A copy of the letter, posted to Saab's employees' website, read: "Saab and its owner are currently engaged in intense final negotiations with the relevant investors on how to ensure the continued funding of Saab's operations. The end result of these negotiations, which may come at any time now, is critical to Saab's position on the issue on which the district court has given Saab an opportunity to comment. As a result, Saab cannot, until the result is known, submit an opinion."

Victor Muller, the Dutch chairman of Swedish Automobile, has spent the week in intense negotiations with Pang Da and Youngman in Stockholm, after refusing the complete takeover offer made by the Chinese companies last Friday.

Richard Orange

in Trollhättan

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