* Saab to continue loan talks this week
* Antonov rep says Saab cannot live with EIB terms
(Recasts, adds comments from union, Saab, Antonov
STOCKHOLM/AMSTERDAM, April 25 Cash-strapped
carmaker Saab said on Monday it plans to continue talks this
week to secure funding amid concern that the terms attached to a
deal would too onerous for the long-running Swedish brand.
Saab got a conditional "yes" from the European Investment
Bank (EIB) on a deal aimed at giving the Swedish carmaker a cash
lifeline but has called the EIB's terms tough and remains unsure
when it will have enough cash to get production going again.
"We are doing whatever we can to try and secure funding.
There are lots of discussions with various parties and
stakeholders and those will continue this week," Eric Geers
Saab ran into a cash crunch in its first year of ownership
by Dutch niche carmaker Spyker SPYKR.AS after its 2010 sales
fell short of forecasts, and its production line in southwest
Sweden has been halted for more than two weeks after it failed
to pay some of its suppliers.
Under the financing deal, Russian financier Vladimir Antonov
-- who also eventually wants to become a shareholder in Saab --
is to buy Saab's plant and other real estate and lease it back
to the car maker.
Saab had been hoping the EIB would sign off quickly on the
liquidity injection after the Swedish state backed the agreement
But there are concerns that the ailing car maker might not
be able to meet the conditions set in the draft letter from the
Lars Carlstrom, a representative for Antonov in Sweden, said
one of the conditions was that Saab repay money it had already
borrowed within 90 days of the sale and leaseback deal being
"Saab cannot live with that," he told Reuters. "If you agree
to the EIB conditions, you need to close business. It is
ridiculous, a ridiculous letter from the EIB which totally kills
Saab needs approval for the agreement from the Swedish state
and the EIB as the bank lent 400 million euros ($558.8 million)
to the car maker, which Sweden guaranteed.
Saab has drawn 217 million euros of the loan, which under
the new financing scheme will now be capped at 280 million
The EIB was unavailable for comment on Monday.
Production at Saab has been halted for more than two weeks
after it failed to pay suppliers' bills due to a cash crunch.
Sweden's main industrial workers' union IF Metall said in a
statement on Monday that it couldn't see why there had not been
a quick approval from the EIB after nods from both the Swedish
state and the debt office.
"What information is the EIB providing? It is said that the
terms are harsh. What are the terms? We require information on
what this is about. It is time that everyone involved speaks
out," IF Metall chairman Stefan Lofven said.
Carlstrom said Antonov would be meeting with the Swedish
debt office on Tuesday regarding his application to take a stake
(Reporting by Mia Shanley and Aaron Gray-Block)