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Spyker makes last-ditch bid for Saab

Super Saab: The Spyker C8 Aileron is the mainstay of Dutch car-maker Spyker, which still wants to buy Saab.

GM gives Saab stay of execution as it looks at revised bids for Swedish car-maker

21 Dec 2009

DUTCH sportscar-maker Spyker Cars has made a last-ditch effort to save Saab Automobile from the scrapheap, submitting a revised bid yesterday to buy the company from General Motors.

On Friday, GM announced that Saab would be wound down, its factories closed and 3400 workers retrenched, as it could not reach agreement with Spyker, whose bid has Russian financial backing.

But on Sunday, GM announced that it had received further enquiries since the announcement, and would evaluate them.

Meanwhile, Spyker announced in the Netherlands that it had submitted a new, 11-point proposal addressing GM’s concerns.

However, the offer is set to expire on Monday night (December 21), forcing GM into a quick decision – something the behemoth is usually loathe to do.

 center imageLeft: Spyker Cars CEO Victor Muller.

Spyker CEO Victor Muller said in a press release that the renewed offer would remove each of the obstacles standing in the way of a swift transaction.

"We have made every effort to resolve the issues that were preventing the conclusion of this matter and we have asked GM and all other involved parties to seriously consider this offer," Mr Muller said.

"We are very confident that our renewed offer will remove the impasse that was standing in the way of an agreement on Friday, and this would still allow us to conclude the deal prior to the expiry of the deadline originally set by GM of December 31st.

"Despite our collective 11th hour set-back, we are returning to the table with a renewed offer, that addresses every known issue brought to light during the initial negotiations and that has the full backing of the Saab Management.

“The new offer eliminates the need for an EIB (European Investment Bank) loan approval prior to year end, for example, which will allow the deal to be concluded within GM's deadline.

“Our efforts are based on our passion for saving an iconic brand that we would be honoured to shepherd, and the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of loyal Saab employees, suppliers and dealers around the world.

“Some 1,500,000 Saabs are on the road today and their proud owners would no doubt welcome the survival of this phenomenal brand."The Spyker bid is thought to be bankrolled by Russian conglomerate Convers Group, controlled by tycoon Vladamir Antonov, who holds a 29.3 per cent stake in Spyker and whose 34-year-old son is Spyker chairman.

According to the New York Times, Antonov survived an assassination attempt in March this year, losing a finger when he was shot seven times.

The US administration – GM’s controlling shareholder – will almost certainly have a point a view on any such the transaction.

Last month, GM pulled out of an agreement to sell its other European arm, Opel, to Magna International, which also had Russian backing via Sberbank.

Apart from the Spyker bid, GM is reported to have fielded last-minute enquiries from companies wanting to buy some of the assets of Saab, presumably its factories or machinery.

Apart from the Russian Convers Group, Spyker is also co-owned by a state-controlled Abu Dhabi investment company.

Spyker last year made just 42 cars at its Zeewolde plant, selling each for at least €200,000 ($A321,649).

The all-aluminium, hand-crafted, mid-engined supercars are built on a spaceframe and powered by Audi-sourced V8 engines.

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