* Dutch sports car maker affirms interest from last week
* Does not know of end-of-week deadline
* Swedish paper reported time was tight for GM decision
* Report says GM leaning towards one particular buyer
(Adds Swedish report, Saab comment)
By Ben Berkowitz
AMSTERDAM/STOCKHOLM, Dec 10 Dutch sports car
maker Spyker Cars NV SPYKR.AS remains interested in buying
Swedish auto brand Saab and is not aware of any deadline imposed
on the process, a spokesman for Spyker said.
Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet said on Thursday that Joran
Hagglund, the state secretary at Sweden's Enterprise Ministry,
has told GM it needs to decide this week whether to sell the
loss-making business. [ID:nGEE5B90AS]
GM is close to deciding which of Saab's bidders will proceed
to final negotiations, Swedish news agency TT reported on
Thursday, citing a source.
The report said the buyer which GM is leaning towards has
experience in car production on a small scale, and that it plans
to run a full-scale car production line, including design and
development, in Sweden.
It said the preferred buyer is one of the groups already
mentioned in the press, and that all in all, TT said this
pointed to Spyker as a favourite.
Saab spokesman Eric Geers declined to comment on the report
but said it was evident things would have to unfold soon.
"There are signals everywhere showing we are well on track,"
Spyker first said on Dec. 2 it was interested in Saab, which
GM is scrambling to sell after a deal with Swedish luxury car
builder Koenigsegg collapsed. GM has said it would hold on to
Saab through year's end and close it if it appears it cannot be
"They're not aware of any deadline," the Spyker spokesman
said Thursday, adding that the company's interest was unchanged.
Saab also said there was no deadline, but that all sides
would need to move quickly to make a deal this year.
Two people with direct knowledge of the discussions told
Reuters on Monday that GM was in talks with China's fifth
largest car maker, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp
(BAIC), about a partial sale of assets associated with Saab.
Any such deal would likely lead to the liquidation of the
unsold assets and the loss of more than 3,000 jobs in Sweden.
Saab has said it is optimistic a deal can be found that would
avoid a carve-up. [ID:nGEE5B70LH]
Spyker, which has roots dating to 1875, last year sold 43 of
its luxury cars at prices of 200,000 euros ($294,200) and above.
Its primary backers include Russian banking tycoon Vladimir
Antonov and his Convers Group, with a 29.9 percent stake.
For a timeline on Saab, click here: [ID:nGEE5AO18T]
(Additional reporting by Victoria Klesty in Stockholm, Jui
Chakravorty Das in New York and Kevin Krolicki in Detroit;
Editing by Jon Loades-Carter and Sharon Lindores)