Spyker Shareholders Approve Saab Takeover

Feb. 12, 2010
The European Investment Bank also approved a $400 million euro loan to Saab.

Shareholders of Dutch luxury sportscar maker Spyker on Feb. 12 overwhelmingly approved its acquisition of Sweden's Saab from General Motors.

The deal got a further boost when the European Investment Bank approved a $400 million euro loan to Saab, guaranteed by the Swedish state.

"The proposal to acquire Saab was accepted by the vast majority" at an extraordinary shareholder meeting held in Zeewolde in the central Netherlands, Spyker chief executive Victor Muller said.

"Of the 8.4 million shares (from a total of 16 million) represented at the meeting, all of them voted in favor with the exception of 1,174 votes represented by the Association of Stock Owners, which abstained from voting."

Spyker and GM reached a deal last month for the sale of Saab for $74 million in cash and about $326 million worth of redeemable preferred shares to be retained by the American giant.

Saab's future had been in doubt throughout 2009 as GM, going through bankruptcy, radically restructured its business and tried to sell off what it saw as non-core and unprofitable assets.

Spyker, a minnow in the global auto industry, manufactured 21 cars in the first quarter of 2009 and sold 23 for prices starting at 199,990 euros. It has a workforce of about 90 assembly workers while Saab has 3,400 employees in Sweden alone.

Spyker said earlier this month that it intended for Saab to turn a profit by 2012, requiring an investment of about a billion dollars.

The Swedish company, which manufactured under 30,000 cars in 2009, hoped to increase this figure to more than 120,000, its chief executive Jan-Ake Jonsson said.

Muller said Spyker would apply for a double listing in London and later possibly also in Stockholm, and would consider delisting from the Amsterdam stock exchange. "Having a listing in London is a much better way of getting close to investors than staying in Amsterdam," he said. Proposals to change the new company's name to Saab Spyker Automobiles would be discussed at the next annual general meeting in April.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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