Manufacturing News

Saab seeks 5B yuan bank loan to fend off liquidation

Saab Automobile AB is holding discussions with China's Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile and a Chinese bank over borrowing about 600 million euros (5 billion yuan) over two years, Saab CEO Victor Muller said Wednesday in a phone interview.

The deal would replace earlier proposals that involved Youngman taking a stake in Saab and would not require General Motors' approval, Muller said.

China's Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. said it is continuing talks with Saab and other parties on plans to invest in the crisis-hit Swedish carmaker.

The news followed a warning from GM on Tuesday that it would not support a proposed ownership structure for Saab that included a Chinese bank. GM has said it would be difficult to support a sale of Saab that hurts GM's competitive position in China and other key markets.

Without GM's technology licenses and production contract for the 9-4X, which GM builds for Saab in Mexico, Saab would be unable to continue in its present form, analysts have said.

GM's opposition has stymied Youngman's plan to team up with Chinese car distributor Pang Da to invest in Saab.

The Swedish automaker has lurched from crisis to crisis in the past year and has not produced any cars for several months. Its factory in Trollhattan, Sweden, has been shut because of unpaid salaries and bills. It has been under court protection from creditors in Sweden since September after unions representing Saab employees began proceedings to put it into bankruptcy over unpaid wages.

Now the company is running out of time. Saab's administrator will ask a court to end its voluntary reorganization for the cash-strapped carmaker, potentially opening the door for creditors to liquidate one of Sweden's best-known brands.

Saab owner Swedish Automobile NV said Saab and its creditors have five to six days to submit their views to the district court in Sweden before the court decides whether to end the reorganization.

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