GM says difficult to support Saab ownership change

Fri Nov 4, 2011 4:22pm GMT

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Nov 4 (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N) said on Friday that it would be difficult to support a sale of Saab if the transaction hurt its existing tie-ups in China or its competitive position in other markets.

China's Pang Da Automobile Trade Co (601258.SS) and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile have struck a deal to buy Saab from its current Dutch owner, Swedish Automobile SWAN.AS, in what amounts to a rescue plan for the Swedish auto brand formerly owned by GM.

Swedish Automobile, then called Spyker, rescued Saab from closure by former owner General Motors Co (GM.N) in early 2010.

GM still has preference shares in Saab and is a major supplier of vehicle components and so must approve the Pang Da and Youngman takeover.

"GM would not be able to support a change in the ownership of Saab which could negatively impact GM's existing relationships in China or otherwise adversely affect GM's interests worldwide," GM spokesman Jim Cain said in a statement.

Saab has lurched from crisis to crisis in the past year and has not produced a car in months. The company was given court protection from creditors in Sweden in September. It was the second time Saab received protection from creditors in two years.

If Pang Da and Youngman were able to complete the deal to purchase and rescue Saab, it would mark the second time that a struggling Swedish auto brand once controlled by Detroit automakers has been acquired by a Chinese company.

In August 2010, Geely (0175.HK) bought Volvo from Ford Motor Co (F.N).

Pang Da operates auto dealerships in China.

Youngman produces commercial vehicles, including buses and trucks, and sells cars under the Lotus brand. (Reporting by Kevin Krolicki; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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