* BAIC has not been approached about Saab investment-exec
* Has “open mind” to good opportunities-BAIC exec
* Saab and BAIC share some vehicle technology (Adds background, comments)
SHANGHAI, April 20 (Reuters) - A top executive at Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co (BAIC) said on Wednesday the Chinese state auto group was not currently in talks to invest in ailing Swedish car brand Saab, with which it shares some vehicle technology.
“It’s two separate companies, but we have a very good relationship,” BAIC President Wang Dazong told Reuters at an auto industry conference in Shanghai.
“But as always if there was a really good opportunity we have an open mind,” he said, adding that he had not been approached so far about investing in Saab, which is owned by the Dutch group Spyker .
BAIC paid $200 million in 2009 to buy technologies from Saab, previously owned by General Motors Co , and has set up a 12 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) production base for upscale cars in Beijing. At the time, BAIC was part of a group that made an unsuccessful bid to buy Saab.
Sweden’s Debt Office said this week that Saab and its counterparties have agreed in principle on demands set by the government for backing a deal to free up much-needed cash. [ID:nLDE73H20N]
The Swedish government on Friday gave conditional backing for cash-strapped Saab to sell real estate, including its production plant, to Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov and then lease it back.
The government’s conditions were that Saab get a market price for the property, that questions about Antonov be cleared up and that money for the purchase come from a European bank without links to Antonov. [ID:nLDE73E1Y2]
However, Swedish business daily Dagens Industri said Saab was not just relying on the Russian to bail it out. It quoted sources as saying Spyker had started discussions with two Chinese companies over a long-term solution to Saab’s financial problems.
BAIC also produces vehicles in partnerships with Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and Hyundai Motor and has been seeking to float its passenger car business to fund its expansion.
$1 = 6.530 Chinese Yuan Reporting by Helen Massy-Beresford and Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Matt Driskill