Saab chief rejects full takeover offer from China

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The chief executive of Swedish Automobile, owner of troubled car maker Saab, said yesterday he had turned down a full-blown takeover offer from China’s Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co and Pangda Automobile Trade Co.

“The token offer was unacceptable because it would trigger every conceivable change of control clause and that would possibly mean the end of Saab,” Victor Muller said.

Mr Muller would not disclose the value of the offer.

As the two Chinese car makers were still interested in Saab, they should stick to the terms of a deal which was signed in July that would see them take a combined 53.9 per cent stake in Amsterdam-listed Swedish Automobile, he said.

The administrator in charge of Saab’s reorganisation asked on Thursday that a Swedish court pull the plug on bankruptcy protection, just hours after an investment firm pledged new cash to help keep the struggling car maker alive.

This has not discouraged race car aficionado Alex Mascioli, who said yesterday that his United States investment firm, North Street Capital LP, was pressing ahead with a $70m deal that will allow Saab to keep the lights on.

“I expect the deal to go ahead. I’m willing to do what I can with my resources for Saab,” North Street managing partner Mr Mascioli said.

Mr Muller said he expected the court to hear the case next week.