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GM to sell Saab unit to Koenigsegg group

GENERAL Motors Corp said yesterday that it has signed a deal to sell its Saab unit to a consortium led by Swedish luxury sports car maker Koenigsegg Automotive AB.

The memorandum of understanding, sent out in a statement from GM, said the sale would include an expected US$600 million funding commitment from the European Investment Bank guaranteed by the Swedish government. Any additional funding for Saab's operations and product investments will be provided by GM and Koenigsegg Group AB.

The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter.

"This is yet another significant step in the reinvention of GM and its European operations," GM Europe President Carl-Peter Forster said in a statement.

"Closing this deal represents the best chance for Saab to emerge a stronger company," he said, adding "Koenigsegg Group's unique combination of innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and financial strength, combined with Koenigsegg's proven ability to create world-class Swedish performance cars in a highly efficient manner, made it the right choice for Saab as well as for General Motors."

Nelson Silveira, a GM spokesman in Zurich, said that no price tag had yet been made official, since the announcement was only a memorandum of understanding.

On Monday, public documents showed that Koenigsegg Automotive AB had applied to start a new company named Koenigsegg Group - fueling speculation that a takeover of GM's Saab unit was in the pipeline.

Saab went into creditor protection on February 20 in an effort by GM to sell the unit.


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