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SAAB deal details becoming clearer

Editorial Staff

Spyker and GM have said little about the terms of the deal which, at last, rescued SAAB from imminent closure. But pieces of information are coming together.

In the week that Netherlands based Spyker have started production of their super-sports car in Coventry, England, details are coming together over the deal done for the tiny manufacturer, which for a time owned the Formula One team that is now Force India, to buy SAAB from General Motors.

Or at least, to buy the parts of SAAB that GM had not already sold to a Chinese company. Quite what Spyker have bought is still not entirely clear.

But the amounts of money passing appear to not be huge: after persistent refusal to stand behind GM's ownership of SAAB and offer loans or guarantees, the Swedish government agreed to offer a guarantee to Spyker - provided that the EU agreed.

The EU has agreed, further weakening one of its fundamental principles against state aid which was shattered when governments began to prop up banks without even asking for EU approval.

But it is the amount of the guarantee which is interesting: GM wanted shed loads of money but never made public quite how much. Spyker, on the other hand, has taken a convertible loan from a subsidiary of Heerema Holding Company, such loan being conditional on the European Investment bank approving an equivalent loan. The amount? Just USD25 million.

There is a circular irony here: Dutch car maker DAF was taken over by Swedish manufacturer Volvo which was taken over by US based Ford. Now Dutch car maker Spyker is taking over a Swedish company from a US owner.