Saab's owner, Swedish Automobile, today said it is in discussions with a bank in China and Chinese automaker Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile over a rescue deal for Saab.
Media reports had said on Sunday that the Bank of China would replace China's Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. as an investor in Saab, which is under bankruptcy protection.
Swedish Automobile confirmed today that it is talking with Youngman and a bank in China about an equity interest, but did not name the bank. It declined to say whether Pang Da was still involved in the discussions.
"The discussions include a short term solution to enable Saab Automobile to pay November wages and continue reorganization. The outcome of the discussions is still uncertain," the company said.
Swedish Automobile CEO Victor Muller told the Swedish news agency TT today that the bank in question is not Bank of China. Pang Caiping, who heads Youngman’s negotiations team for Saab, also said the company hasn’t held talks with Bank of China.
A new investment deal could help pave the way for General Motors Co. to approve a new ownership structure for Saab. GM sold the money-losing brand to Swedish Automobile, then called Spyker Cars, in 2010 and still has preferential shares in the carmaker.
GM said in November it would stop supplying components and technology if Youngman and Pang Da succeeded with their bid to buy Saab, amid fears that GM's technology could fall into the hands of competitors
Youngman and Pang Da had pushed for full ownership of Saab, replacing an earlier plan by Muller for the Chinese companies to take a combined 53.9 percent stake in Swedish Automobile, but no stake in Saab.
On Nov. 30, GM executives held talks with Saab's court-appointed administrator Guy Lofalk in Detroit, reported China Business News, a Shanghai-based daily newspaper.
GM asked Pang Da and Youngman to acquire no more than 20 percent of Saab each, reported the newspaper, citing an unnamed Pang Da source.
On Sunday, SaabsUnited, an enthusiasts Web site, said the Bank of China would take a 29.9 percent stake in Swedish Automobile with Youngman holding 19.9 percent and Swedish Automobile retaining the remaining 50.1 percent. The Web site said the information came from its contacts within Saab.