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September 28, 2009

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Home » Business » Auto

Koenigsegg plans to conclude Saab deal by end of October

KOENIGSEGG'S chief executive said over the weekend that the Swedish luxury sports car maker still aimed to finalize a deal to buy Saab Automobile from General Motors by the end of October.

Christian von Koenigsegg, Koenigsegg's chief executive and part owner, also said there was good progress in talks to secure Swedish state guarantees for billions of crowns of loans from the European Investment Bank.

"Our deadline for the deal still remains the end of October as we have previously said," he said.

One of Koenigsegg's main owners was quoted by a newspaper on Saturday as saying the company could pull out of its planned purchase unless steps to secure loans were in place by Wednesday.

Norwegian businessman Bard Eker, who owns part of Koenigsegg through his holding company, told the Swedish business daily, Dagens Industri, that progress was needed on the EIB loans that Koenigsegg needs to finalize the Saab deal.

"If everything is not in place before Wednesday we are out. We give up," Eker was quoted as saying.

Von Koenigsegg played down the comments, saying he saw no risk the deal would fall through and that there was no crucial deadline in the coming days.

The Swedish government has not yet said if it will pledge the state guarantees needed in order for the EIB to approve loans to Saab Automobile. The debt office is handling the negotiations on the guarantees on behalf of the government.

"It feels like we are taking positive steps week by week," von Koenigsegg said. "We are getting closer all the time."

Koenigsegg, backed by United States and Norwegian investors, struck a deal this year to buy GM's loss-making Saab Automobile business, but its ability to finance the purchase was in question.

This month, Koenigsegg said state-run Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings would take a minority stake in the luxury car maker as part of its planned purchase of Saab.


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