Bankrupt Swedish auto maker Saab has found a buyer, the administrator said on Wednesday, with media naming a Swedish-Chinese group as the investor.
Saab, a maker of iconic cars since 1947, crashed into bankruptcy at the end of 2011, less than two years after former owner General Motors sold it to Dutch group Spyker.
The bankruptcy administrators have been seeking a buyer since then and said in a statement that a deal had now been struck. It did not name the buyer.
A news conference will be held at 1100 GMT.
Public radio and business daily Dagens Industri have cited sources as saying a company called National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) AB is the buyer, beating off a bid from Chinese group Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile.
A spokesman for NEVS has confirmed a bid was made, but declined to give any further details. The spokesman was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.
The chief executive and main owner of NEVS is a Chinese businessman with Swedish citizenship, Kai Johan Jiang.
NEVS is owned by National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd, which has 51 per cent, and Sun Investment LLC, with 49 per cent, the company’s website says.
National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd is owned from Hong Kong and focuses on alternative energy sources for China, using high-efficiency biomass power plant designs.
Sun Investment LLC is a Japanese investment firm, focused on high-technology projects in environmental and sustainable solutions.
The chairman of NEVS is Karl-Erling Trogen, a former head of the truck division of truck and construction equipment maker Volvo.
Saab was declared insolvent at the end of 2011 with debts of about 13 billion Swedish crowns ($1.8-billion U.S.), around 2.2 billion of which is owed to the Swedish Debt Office.
GM, Saab’s former owner, still licenses technology to it on which the building of Saab cars depends, and has a small shareholding.
The U.S. auto maker previously built the Saab 9-4X SUV and supplied engines to Saab. Most of Saab’s vehicles were also built on GM-designed vehicle platforms and analysts have said GM’s block on deals with Chinese auto makers had been to protect its Chinese cooperation with state-run SAIC Motor Corp Ltd (Shanghai Automotive). Saab presented its first prototype in 1947 after moving out of aeronautical engineering and built a small, loyal following.
GM bought 50 per cent of the car company in 1990 and the rest in 2000. It decided to sell the brand in 2009 after the financial crisis and almost closed it before Swedish Automobile, then called Spyker, bought Saab in January 2010.
Despite its well-known name, Saab was a niche player and analysts had questioned its future. It has the capacity to produce more than 100,000 cars a year running on two shifts.
Swedish rival Volvo, rescued by China’s Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. in 2010, made almost four times that last year.
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