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Saab says deal 'around the corner'

GENERAL Motors Corp's Saab unit said yesterday that a deal to find a new owner was "just around the corner" but nothing has been finalized and it didn't name any potential buyers.

In a statement on its Website entitled "A new investor for Saab?" the Swedish unit said it was moving closer to a deal to secure the future of the ailing brand.

"To set the record straight there has been no official announcement relating to any potential investors but rest assured our negotiations are on track and we expect to have a new ownership structure finalized in the early summer," the statement said.

"Until then enjoy the increased speculation in the knowledge that the next chapter in Saab Automobile's history is just around the corner," Saab said.

Swedish broadcaster SVT said sports car firm Koenigsegg Automotive AB and Norwegian investors had signed a declaration of intent to buy Saab. Koenigsegg board member Jesko von Koenigsegg declined to comment on the report, saying "we have no official statement yet."


The company was founded in 1994 by Christian von Koenigsegg, a Swedish sports car fanatic and entrepreneur, who remains the chief executive. It makes luxury sports cars at its headquarters, a former air force base near Angelholm in southern Sweden.

With a full-time staff of 45, Koenigsegg makes 15 to 20 cars a year, customized for every buyer. Its models include the CCR, the CCX and the ethanol-fueled CCXR. Koenigsegg is currently developing the Quant, a solar-powered electric car.

The company doesn't advertise prices for its cars, but they are believed to range from 8 million (US$1 million) to 18 million kronor.

Gunilla Gustavs, a spokeswoman at Saab Automobile in Sweden, said: "Yes, we believe we're in the final stages" but declined to give other details about the talks.

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

Saab confirmed last month that three bidders remained in the sales process.

The three were said to be Koenigsegg, The Renco Group Inc, a private equity firm, and Merbanco Inc, a Wyoming-based group of investors.


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