Hilton Holloway analyses the sale, which may be 'imminent'
15 June 2009

Saab is poised to be sold to a consortium including Swedish supercar maker Keonigsegg and a group of unnamed investors later this week.

A company spokesman has confirmed that the chances of teh sale process beginning this week are "good" and added that an announcement could be imminent.

The Norwegian designer and entrepreneur Bard Eker, who also owns a 49 percent stake in Koenigsegg, is apparently leading the bid. Media reports from Sweden suggest that Eker may have convinced ‘four or five of Norway’s leading financial families’ to become involved.

Eker was quoted in the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet denying plans to break Saab up and said the new owners would not seek ‘major dismissals’ from the workforce. He also cautioned that there were still obstacles in the way of deal with GM.

However, Paul Akerlund, head of the IF Metall union at Saab’s Trollhatten HQ, told the Swedish newspaper Aftenposten that he was ‘confident’ the investors had adequate capital and hinted investors outside Norway could also be involved. Another union source said that ‘three companies’ would be taking over Saab.

It has also been suggested that the final deal will see General Motors retain a 20 percent stake in Saab, with whom it still has a number of engineering contracts.

One Swedish media source says that a proposal by GM to sell Saab – which is currently in bankruptcy protection in Sweden – was handed over to a judge in New York on 12 June.

Saab sources say that although the company is currently loss making, it has virtually completed development work on the all-new 9-5 saloon, which is scheduled to start production in early 2010. The 9-4X SUV and 9-5 estate will follow later in 2010.

Hilton Holloway

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