STOCKHOLM - Investment firm Genii Capital said liquidators had yet to start removing vital assets from Swedish carmaker Saab's facilities, and said it remained upbeat about its chances of buying the loss-making firm from General Motors.
Last week a team of liquidators appointed by GM moved into Saab's Trollhattan headquarters and took control of the company following a Dec. 18 decision to start winding it down.
But no action has yet been taken that would make the firm any less attractive to prospective buyers, a spokesman for the Luxembourg-based Genii told Reuters on Tuesday, with GM still in talks with at least one party over a possible sale of Saab.
We are still optimistic that a deal can be concluded with one of the parties, said Lars Carlstrom, who is coordinating the bid, backed by Formula One mogul Bernie Ecclestone.
As we understand it, the wind-down is on hold until a statement from GM on the sale ... we're still hopeful.
Workers at Saab's production facilities in western Sweden have orders to continue making cars until the end of next week, after which there is no clear signal on whether to continue work, the chairman of Saab's main union said on Monday.
IF Metall's Paul Aukerlund said that liquidators from consultants AlixPartners had been on site in Trollhattan for a week, but production facilities had not been modified.
They have done nothing, he said.
Saab dealers contacted in Britain said they had received no guidance from GM regarding Saab and were continuing to process orders for new vehicles until further notice.
TIME RUNNING OUT
Despite the offers still on the table, GM's bosses have been adamant about wanting to shutter Saab as part of efforts to shed loss-making units. GM killed Pontiac and Saturn in 2009 and is still in discussions to sell the Hummer brand.
Of the parties still vying for Saab, Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker has been in discussions longest. Spyker's Chief Executive Victor Muller confirmed to Reuters on Monday it was still in talks with GM over a deal to buy Saab.
Genii, however, has so far been unable to confirm that it has entered formal negotiations. The group submitted its offer hours before the expiry of a Jan. 7 bid-deadline and has since revised the bid to demonstrate more financial strength.
In an email to Reuters, GM spokesman Stefan Weimann said the lifespan of sale talks was running short and would remain open only until about mid-February. The question of financing for a purchase of Saab still needed to be resolved, he added. (Reporting by Nick Vinocur; Editing by Rupert Winchester)