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Saab still can’t pay salaries

A $135 million deal to sell the troubled automaker to a Chinese firm was blocked by GM amid technology license concerns


December 5, 2011
by The Canadian Press

STOCKHOLM,Sweden—Swedish Automobile, the owner of Saab, says it’s in talks with a Chinese bank and an auto company about buying stakes in the troubled car brand.

Swedish Automobile says the negotiations with the bank and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. include short-term actions to help it pay November wages to Saab’s staff and to continue reorganization.

The outcome of the discussions is still uncertain and a deal needs the approval of relevant stakeholders, including previous Saab-owner General Motors Co.

Saab has been fighting for survival since Muller took over the loss-making brand from GM in 2010 through Dutch company Spyker Cars, which has since changed names to Swedish Automobile.

The company’s production has been at a standstill for most of the year and the car maker entered bankruptcy protection in September.

Earlier this year, Youngman and Chinese car distribution firm Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. said they would buy the brand for $135 million, but GM blocked that deal amid concerns over its technology licenses.

Saab’s employees have still not received their November salaries and two labour unions last week filed official requests for the money, which means Saab has seven days to pay, or face bankruptcy proceedings.