August 18, 2009

GM confirms deal to sell Saab

General Motors Co. said it had agreed to sell Saab Automobiles in Sweden to the Koenigsegg Group, a consortium of European buyers.

Koenigsegg confirmed they had reached a stock purchase agreement that is expected to close in the fourth quarter and end the U.S. automaker's 20-year ownership reign, The Local reported Tuesday.

Critical steps remain to be taken, however.

In a statement, Carl-Peter Forster, president of GM Europe, said the deal was contingent on the funding commitment from the European Investment Bank, guaranteed by the Swedish government.

Joran Hagglund, state secretary of the Swedish Industry Ministry, said the consortium had to find additional capital and renegotiate loans with the European Investment Bank. In addition, the group needed to negotiate with the state over the conditions of any state guarantees, he said.

For all this, the approval of the European Commission is also required, he said.

But Saab Managing Director Jan Ake Jonsson called the development excellent news.

This is an important step to secure jobs and our long-term future as a Swedish car maker, he said.