Saab in talks with Youngman and Chinese bank

AP News
Posted: Dec 05, 2011 7:14 AM

Swedish Automobile, the owner of Saab, said Monday it is in talks with an unnamed Chinese bank and an auto company about getting them to buy stakes to help the troubled car brand.

Swedish Automobile, or Swan, said the negotiations with the bank and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. include short-term actions to help it pay November wages to Saab's staff and continue reorganization.

Swedish Automobile CEO Victor Muller told local news agency TT the bank in question is not Bank of China, but didn't give any more details.

The outcome of the discussions is still uncertain and a deal needs the approval of relevant stakeholders, including previous Saab-owner General Motors Co.

Saab has been fighting for survival since Muller took over the loss-making brand from GM in 2010 through his Dutch company Spyker Cars, which has since changed names to Swedish Automobile. The company's production has been at a standstill for most of the year, and the car maker entered bankruptcy protection in September.

Earlier this year, Youngman and Chinese car distribution firm Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. said they would buy the brand for euro100 million ($135 million), but that deal was blocked by GM amid concerns over its technology licenses.

Saab's employees have still not received their November salaries and two labor unions last week filed official requests for the money, which means Saab has seven days to pay, or face bankruptcy proceedings.