Saab managing director Jan-Ake Jonsson says he aims to identify a new owner for the brand within two months, and that there are five parties interested in buying the brand.
Though Mr Jonsson was not specific in naming the interested parties there has been some speculation that Chinese manufacturers Geely and Dongfeng are strong candidates for the take over.
“There are about five we want to talk to. There are a couple more we are also looking into,” Mr Jonsson said yesterday at the Geneva Motor Show. “We should see which candidates are serious in the next week and a half.”
There has also been considerable speculation surrounding Geely’s interest in the purchase of Volvo – a claim denied by Geely management.
It has also been suggested by Swedish media outlets that private equity firms and representatives of retired Swedish workers have also expressed an interest in Saab.
Mr Jonsson said Saab is working with advisors from Deutsche Bank this week to identify a buyer.
“I hope in a month or two we will have at least some agreement with somebody,” Mr Jonsson said. “The Swedish government wants to know what the future ownership structure is and General Motors wants to sell Saab. We have to accelerate the process.”
Although GM has not yet begun an official auction for the Swedish brand it is expected the preliminary financials will be ready within a few weeks, quite some time ahead of the official January 1 2010 end of ownership date.
GM bought 50 per cent of Saab in 1990 for about US$700 million. It paid US$125 million and assumed debt for the remainder of the unit in 2000.