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Mon, Jun 15, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Koenigsegg’s co-owner confident of saving Saab


Koenigsegg, the Swedish luxury sports carmaker set to buy Saab Automobile from General Motors (GM), is confident it can secure the company’s future, Koenigsegg’s co-owner was quoted as saying on Saturday.

GM, now in bankruptcy protection in the US, put Saab up for sale in February as it bids to slim down its range of brands and become profitable again.

A Swedish TV report on Thursday said Koenigsegg and a group of Norwegian investors had signed a letter of intent to buy Saab.

Baard Eker, whose holding company Eker Group holds a 49 percent stake in Koenigsegg, confirmed his interest in the Swedish automaker in an interview with Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.

“We think it is possible and we have several good solutions to bring with us into Saab,” Eker said.

Commentators in Sweden have questioned whether Koenigsegg, which produces just 18 high-end sports cars a year and employs only 45 people, would have the financial muscle or industrial know-how to run Saab.

Founded in 1994 by Swedish businessman Christian von Koenigsegg, the company posted a turnover of 106 million kroner (US$13 million) last year.

Eker told Dagbladet there were “several investors” backing the bid.

“But I don’t want to comment on the amount of money and who is involved,” he said. “I want to make one thing clear. We are not buying Saab just to chop it up. That’s not what we do.”

The Eker Group was unavailable for comment and Saab spokesman Joe Oliver refused to comment. GM also kept mum.

“We’re not making any comment at this time. We continue to work towards a resolution for the sale of Saab,” GM Europe spokesman Chris Preuss said.

Saab sold 93,000 cars worldwide last year, its Web site says.

It owes 9.7 billion kronor to GM — its largest individual creditor — as well as 347 million kronor to the Swedish government. Other creditors are owed 647 million kronor.

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