STOCKHOLM, March 31 Sweden's Debt Office said on
Thursday it would take weeks for it consider an application by
Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov to take a stake in
loss-making carmaker Saab.
Antonov was forced out of the original deal for Dutch
carmaker Spyker SPYKR.AS to buy Saab from General Motors
(GM.N) after media reports of links to organised crime. He has
said he has cleared his name and GM is ready to have him back in
But Sweden, which guaranteed a 400 million euro ($568.6
million) loan to Saab from the European Investment Bank (EIB),
also has a say in ownership changes.
"It will take weeks, not days," said Daniel Barr, Debt
Office head of bank support and project leader for Saab, when
asked how long it would take for any approval to come through.
Spyker had on Wednesday sought to reassure investors that it
had enough funds to run Saab after payment problems to suppliers
interrupted production for two days. Production was up and
running again on Thursday and the company said it had settled a
payment problem with transport company Schenker. [ID:nLDE72T095]
But news agency TT quoted another supplier, instrument panel
maker IAC Group, as saying it had stopped deliveries to Saab due
to a lack of payment. An advertising company has also said it
has not been paid since December.
Antonov has said he wants to restore the 30 percent stake in
Spyker he had before he was forced out of the company.
Antonov owns a bank in Lithuania and Latvia and says on his
website, www.vladimirantonov.com, that his Convers Group
Management company has $7 billion of assets under management.
Antonov has also been a long-time business partner of Spyker
Chief Executive Victor Muller and Spyker recently agreed to sell
its niche sportscar division to Antonov.
(Reporting by Patrick Lannin)