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Saab Searches for a Buyer, Need Aid from Swedish Government

Posted: 03/03/2009 - 11:25 AM ET

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, General Motor's Swedish Saab unit will accelerate talks with potential buyers in hopes of completing a deal by 2010.

The paper cited an interview with Jan Ake Jonsson, Saab Managing Director, saying that the company would need 500 million in euros from the Swedish government to stay afloat.

The government, however, said in late February that there would be no loan guarantees unless Saab located a private investor as an underwriter for its business plan.

Jonsson said Saab wanted to reach profitable ground by 2011, but the company posted a 2008 loss of approximately $340 million and expects similar figures for 2009.

General Motors, plagued by its own financial woes, operating on government loans and asking for more, said, in a February 17th viability plan presented to the U.S. Treasury that it will not continue to fund Saab's losses.

In that document, GM indicated Saab would become an independent business on January 1, 2010. This announcement further catalyzed Saab's efforts, in conjunction with Deutsche Bank, to find a buyer.

No potential candidates have been identified, but Saab is reportedly talking to buyers inside and outside the auto industry. The Swedish state, though not disinclined to offer assistance, has said it should not be in the business of owning a car company.

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