China's Pang Da says still in talks with Saab

SHANGHAI Tue Dec 6, 2011 8:26am EST

A logo of Swedish car manufacturer Saab is pictured in front of a Saab dealer in Vienna, June 24, 2011. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

A logo of Swedish car manufacturer Saab is pictured in front of a Saab dealer in Vienna, June 24, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's Pang Da Automobile Trade Co (601258.SS) will continue talks with various parties including Saab on plans to invest in the crisis-hit Swedish carmaker, it said in a statement.

Saab owner Swedish Automobile SWAN.AS said on Monday a Chinese bank was in talks about taking a stake in Saab, although it declined to name the bank.

On Sunday, Reuters reported that a Chinese bank would replace Pang Da in the rescue deal, which might help pave the way for approval by General Motors (GM.N), which still has preferential shares in Saab and has supplied the Swedish auto brand with crucial components.

"In principle, we would not oppose any plan that would be good for Saab's restructuring and help it out of the current plight," Pang Da said in a statement posted on the Shanghai stock exchange late on Monday.

Swedish Automobile said on Monday it was still in discussions with Youngman, but declined to say whether Pang Da was still involved.

Chinese investors Pang Da and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile had agreed to invest in the car manufacturer, but the deal encountered numerous problems.

GM, which operates in China in a partnership with state-run SAIC Motor Corp Ltd (600104.SS), has said it would be difficult to support a sale of Saab that hurts GM's competitive position in China and other key markets.

The U.S. automaker said last month it would stop supplying components and technology if Youngman and Pang Da succeeded with their acquisition bid.

Analysts have said that without GM's technology licenses and production contract, Saab would be unable to continue in its present form.

Saab has been under court protection from creditors in Sweden since September after unions representing Saab employees began proceedings to put it into bankruptcy over unpaid wages.

Swedish Automobile said on Monday the discussions included a short-term solution to enable Saab Automobile to pay the November wages and continue its reorganization.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner and Ken Wills)

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