* Swedish Automobile CEO: 'There is always Plan B'
* China's Pang Da said it continues talks on Saab
By Ben Klayman and Gilbert Kreijger
DETROIT/AMSTERDAM, Dec 6 General
Motors Co said on Tuesday it would not support a
proposed ownership structure for Saab that included a Chinese
bank, moving the Swedish auto company closer to liquidation.
"We have reviewed Saab's proposed changes regarding the
sale of the company," GM spokesman James Cain said in a
statement. "Nothing in the proposal changes GM's position. We
are unable to support the transaction."
GM has said it would be difficult to support a sale of Saab
that hurts GM's competitive position in China and other key
Without GM's technology licenses and production contract,
analysts have said, Saab would be unable to continue in its
Saab owner Swedish Automobile said
on Monday it was in talks with a Chinese bank it
would not identify about taking a stake in Saab.
The new proposal was part of an effort to address the
concerns of GM, which still has preferential shares in Saab and
licenses technology and previously built a vehicle for the
Swedish automaker, which halted operations in April.
When asked about GM's rejection, Swedish Automobile Chief
Executive Victor Muller said in a text message, "There is
always Plan B." He said it was too early to provide details.
Chinese investors Pang Da Automobile Trade Co
and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile had agreed to invest in
the car manufacturer, but the deal has encountered numerous
Swedish Automobile had said it was still in talks with
Youngman, but declined to say whether Pang Da was still
involved. On Sunday, Reuters reported the Chinese bank would
replace Pang Da, while on Tuesday Pang Da said it would
continue talks with various parties including Saab on plans to
invest in the Swedish automaker.
Under the new proposal Saab made, Youngman's ownership
stake would have been reduced and another series of Saab shares
would have been issued to a new company owned by the Chinese
bank, according to a person familiar with the talks who asked
not to be named.
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 November
wages and continue its reorganization.
Saab has lurched from crisis to crisis in the past year and
has not produced any cars for several months as its main
factory in Trollhattan, Sweden, has been shut because of unpaid
salaries and bills.
GM, which operates in China in a partnership with state-run
SAIC Motor Corp Ltd , said in early November that
continuing to supply parts and technology to Saab's new
owners would run counter to the interest of its own
The U.S. automaker said last month it would stop supplying
components and technology if Youngman and Pang Da succeeded
with their acquisition bid.
Separate from Saab's new proposal on Friday, the
administrator in Saab's bankruptcy and Sweden's U.S.
ambassador met with GM officials on Nov. 30, asking GM to
continue to license its technology to Saab under any new
owners, a source previously told Reuters. GM officials said
their position would not change, however, the source said.
Pang Da operates auto dealerships in China while Youngman
produces commercial vehicles, including buses and trucks, and
sells cars under the Lotus brand.