Car firm Saab's administrator can't quit-court

STOCKHOLM Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:43am EST

STOCKHOLM Dec 16 (Reuters) - Saab's fight for survival took another unexpected turn on Friday when a court refused to allow the ailing carmaker's administrator to quit his job just days ahead of a hearing that may decide the company's fate.

The Vanersborg court is due to decide on Monday whether to keep Saab in a scheme which grants it protection from creditors while it secures itself a stable future.

The court said it was too late to dismiss current administrator Guy Lofalk, rejecting requests from Saab and Lofalk himself for him to be relieved of his duties.

"With regard also to the short time remaining until the matter will be tested ... the district court assesses that there are insufficient grounds to immediately dismiss Lofalk," the court said in a document.

Lofalk had earlier this month requested the court call time on Saab's creditor protection because the company, owned by Dutch-listed Swedish Automobile, had run out of money.

Saab, one of Sweden's best-known brands, has been teetering on the edge of collapse since early this year when a cash crunch forced it to halt production.

The company had named a new administrator to replace Lofalk earlier this week, only to suffer the embarrassment of having to name another person to take the role after the preferred candidate subsequently turned down the position.

Saab had said on Tuesday it got a payment from China's Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile, which wants to take a stake in the firm. But more funding is necessary to pay staff and suppliers and get production up and running again. (Reporting by Daniel Dickson)

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