GM Signs Agreement on Saab Sale

Will sell to Koenigsegg, a manufacturer of high-end sports cars

General Motors said on August 18 it has signed a binding agreement with Swedish sports carmaker Koenigsegg over the sale of Saab Automobile. "General Motors Co. today confirmed it has signed a stock purchase agreement with Koenigsegg Group AB regarding the sale of 100% of the shares of Saab Automobile AB," the company said.

GM had signed a tentative agreement to sell Saab to Koenigsegg on June 16. Since then, however, commentators in Sweden have questioned whether the niche sports carmaker has sufficient financial muscle to close the deal.

"We will continue to work with all parties to define the final details and ensure a fast closure of the deal," said GM Europe CEO Carl-Peter Forster. "The closure of the deal is contingent on the funding commitment from the European Investment Bank (EIB), guaranteed by the Swedish government," he added.

Koenigsegg Group, founded in 1994 by Swedish businessman Christian von Koenigsegg, has just 45 employees and produces 18 high-end sports cars a year at more than a million euros (US$1.4 million) each.

Saab, by contrast, employs 3,400 people in Sweden alone and sold just over 93,000 cars worldwide in 2008.

Christian von Koenigsegg said that company wanted "to transform Saab into a stand-alone vibrant entrepreneurial company and make it 'sustainable' by making it profitable."

GM said it expected the transaction to be completed by the end of the year while Saab said it expected to exit "shortly" from bankruptcy protection.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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