Sweden says to guarantee EIB loan to Saab: report

STOCKHOLM Mon Oct 5, 2009 6:03pm EDT

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden has decided to guarantee the 4.3 billion crown ($610 million) loan that ailing car maker Saab has asked the European Investment Bank for, news agency TT reported on Monday.

The loan is key to plans by Swedish luxury car maker Koenigsegg to buy Saab from General Motors GM.UL.

TT said the government on Monday notified the European Commission it was prepared to give state guarantees requested for the loan.

"The deal still lives in our view. If we hadn't believed in it, we wouldn't have chosen to notify the commission," TT quoted Swedish state secretary Joran Hagglund as saying. "It is now up to the EIB to assess Saab's chances to borrow money."

Koenigsegg, backed by U.S. and Norwegian investors, struck a preliminary acquisition deal earlier this year, but concerns have continued to surface over whether it has the financial muscle to buy and run Saab.

Koenigsegg has said it aimed to finalize the purchase by the end of October.

Hagglund has said he hoped the EIB would decide on the loan on October 21 or the day after.

($1=7.052 Swedish Crown)

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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