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Spyker shares surge again on Saab hopes

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[January 25, 2010]  AMSTERDAM (AP) -- Shares in the small, loss-making Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker Cars NV surged again Monday on hopes the company's owners will reach a deal to buy Saab from General Motors Co. that could also bolster Spyker's prospects.

Spyker shares surged 29 percent to euro2.77 on news media reports saying that a deal was close.

Spyker spokesman Mike Stainton said Monday the reports were "speculation." He said the negotiations are continuing. On Jan. 6, CEO Ed Whitacre Jr. said of Saab: "It's real easy. Just show up with the money and you can have it."

GM has begun shutting Saab down, though its 3,400 employees have not yet been laid off.

A deal for Spyker to buy Saab by itself is unlikely: Spyker sold 23 cars in the first half of 2009, its most recent reporting period, and it posted a net loss of euro8.7 million. The six-year-old company has yet to make a profit, but it says funding for its operations have been guaranteed through 2010.

Money for a deal to buy Saab could come from Spyker's largest shareholder, Russia's Conversbank Financial Group, or other shareholders. It would also likely involve a large loan from the European Investment Bank, backed by the government of Sweden.

Stainton said the financial structuring of a deal would only be made public at the time it was announced. He couldn't say whether that was likely to happen this week.

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Spyker's shares have been rising since its Chairman Victor Muller first began a public campaign wooing GM in early December.

Saab Automobile sold around 90,000 cars in 2008, a 30 percent decline from 2007. With another sharp sales decline expected, it filed for protection from creditors while it reorganized in February 2009. GM said at the time it expected to sell Saab and take $1 billion in losses.

GM filed for bankruptcy itself in June and its attempts to sell Saab by a Dec. 31 deadline failed.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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