Dutch car maker buys Saab from GM

A small Dutch car maker will attempt to make money by selling Saab brand cars in an increasingly competitive global market place, something which US giant General Motors could not manage.

GM has signed a contract to sell Saab to Spyker Cars NV for $74 million (£45.7 million) in cash plus $326 million worth of preferred shares in Saab. The deal hinges on a $550 million loan from the European Investment Bank which the Swedish government has committed to guaranteeing.

The sale is a coup for Spyker, based in Zeewolde, and a lifeline for Saab, which has lost money since GM bought a 50% stake and management control for $600 million in 1989. The Detroit manufacturer gained full ownership in 2000 for an extra $125 million.

Saab, which employs around 3,500 people in Sweden, was within days of liquidation as part of GM's restructuring. GM will still provide vehicles and parts to the new company, Saab Spyker Automobiles NV.

Spyker CEO Viktor Muller knows Spyker faces a huge challenge to turn Saab into a money maker, but said he is confident, adding: "I think what we can bring to the table is entrepreneurship and tenacity."

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