UPDATE 1-Pang Da, Youngman say JV deal with Saab still valid

Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:14am EDT

* Youngman says bridge loan, other payments already paid

* Youngman says willing to continue loans to Saab

* Pang Da made provisions for 45 mln euros sent to Saab (Adds Youngman's comments and details in paragraphs 7-11)

By Fang Yan and Ken Wills

BEIJING, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Pang Da Automobile Trade Co and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co said on Tuesday their equity agreement with Saab's owner was still valid, a response to the Swedish company's move to end the deal.

Swedish Automobile said late on Sunday that it was cancelling a provisional agreement, signed in June, in which Pang Da and Youngman would each take a stake in Swedish Automobile for a combined 245 million euros ($340 million), because they had failed to confirm their commitments.

Youngman had promised 70 million euros in bridge financing, only part of which had arrived, it said.

In a stock exchange filing, Pang Da said it had never signed any bridge financing pact with Saab's owner, but said it still intends to honour its equity investment obligations, including seeking Chinese government approval.

"The company has been exploring various options favourable to Saab during its restructuring process. But, before any new agreement is reached between the parties, we think the previous pact remains legally binding," Pang Da said.

Pang Da, which had already paid 45 million euros as part of a separate car purchase deal with Saab, had made provisions to cover the amount in case the automaker goes bankrupt, it added.

In a separate statement, Youngman said it already paid an $11 million bridge loan in line with an earlier agreement along with its share of the payment for Swedish Auto shares, which had kept Saab afloat.

The company did not give an exact figure, but according to its proposed equity agreement, it was committed to pay 136 million euros for a 29.9 percent share of Swedish Automobile.

It was not immediately clear whether those funds could be retrieved in the event Saab was forced to liquidate.

Youngman said it regretted that Swedish Auto had on its own declared an end to the legally binding equity pact, but added it remained committed to its own obligations.

"Just as we have indicated to Swedish Auto and Saab many a time, we are willing to continue helping Saab (and to) provide short-term and mid-to-long term funds through other means," it said, adding it is open to further discussions among the parties involved.

Saab was given court protection from creditors and bankruptcy claims in September for the second time in about two years and is deeply in debt to workers and suppliers.

Doubts over Youngman's and Pang Da's role in Saab's future led the Swedish company's administrator, who was appointed to turn around Saab under creditor protection, to ask the court to pull the plug on restructuring.

The Chinese companies came up with an alternative offer last week for a 100 percent buyout of the carmaker. Swedish Auto rejected that offer, but Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs said on Monday that contact had not been broken off.

The owner of troubled Swedish carmaker Saab is still talking to would-be Chinese buyers, hours after scrapping the planned cash lifeline and days after spurning the total buyout bid.

($1 = 0.720 euros) (Editing by Jonathan Hopfner and Matt Driskill)