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Swedish carmaker Saab put into liquidation

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-01-08

Troubled Swedish carmaker Saab was put into liquidation on Friday, despite its US owner GM having receiving several bids for the loss-making brand. Sweden's main industrial union called GM's attitude "irresponsible".

AFP - Swedish carmaker Saab, whose US owner GM has received several bids for the loss-making brand, was placed in liquidation on Friday, the head of Sweden's main industrial union said.

"Today, Saab Automobile's board has decided on the liquidation of the company," said Stefan Loefven, the head of the IF Metall union which has a representative on Saab's board.

"GM is taking an additional step in the wind down of Saab," he added in a statement.

The union criticised GM for beginning to wind up the company the same time that it confirmed having received several bids for the iconic Swedish brand.

"It is irresponsible of GM as an owner to go in two directions, both pursuing the sale (of Saab) and the winding up," Loefven said.

Several groups, including Dutch sportscar maker Spyker and a group comprised of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and a Luxembourg investment firm, have said they presented GM with last-ditch bids to rescue Saab.

"It is unintelligible and irresponsible to do that now without reviewing the serious bids that have been placed for Saab," Loefven said.

"GM's decision is not in line with the signals we have received from the company about its sincere intentions of wanting to sell Saab and seriously reviewing incoming bids," he added.

GM Europe's spokesman Stefan Weinmann confirmed to AFP on Friday his company had "received several proposals" for Saab but said the US auto giant was still going ahead with its planned closure of the Swedish brand while considering any new bids.

"Essentially, the two processes will continue in parallel, which means we'll continue with a (winding up) and at the same time we will look at the proposals and analyse them and see whether we can find a good solution for everybody," Weinmann said.

GM's actions regarding the Saab sale, which it put on the block a year ago, have been repeatedly denounced by the Swedish government and Saab's unions.

The carmaker employs 3,400 people in Sweden and is one of four storied brands being shed by GM as part of a massive restructuring effort that began in 2005 and accelerated last year when the largest US automaker went bankrupt.

Analysts have warned that some 8,000 jobs could be lost with Saab's closure.

Saab's board met Friday in the carmaker's hometown of Trollhaettan. A GM source told AFP Thursday that the closing of the operation was on the meeting's agenda.

Date created : 2010-01-08

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