STOCKHOLM - U.S. auto giant GM's Saab Automobile said on Friday it was talking to possible buyers, days after tiny Swedish sportscar maker Koenigsegg pulled out of a deal to take over the closure-threatened unit.
We can confirm that we have heard from different investors. We have a close dialogue and close contact with several who have expressed interest in buying Saab Automobile, spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs said.
It is not so surprising, given that there were 27 parties who were interested (when Saab was initially put up for sale) and 10 who came and looked the company over in April and May.
Gustavs would not give any further information about who the possible buyers might be or how many potential suitors loss-making Saab was talking to.
On Tuesday, Sweden's Koenigsegg -- which made just a handful of $1 million sportscars last year -- pulled out of a deal with GM to buy Saab, blaming the length of time it was taking to finalise the agreement and get European Investment Bank loans and loan guarantees.
At the time, there were no other bidders, one person with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters, and analysts did not expect a serious suitor to emerge.
Saab has not made a profit since it was taken over by GM 20 years ago and estimated it would make a loss of 3 billion Swedish crowns ($427 million) this year and again in 2010.
It needs huge investment to bring its models up to date and reverse a dive in sales in recent years and many analysts believe that, with the auto industry struggling with overcapacity, the brand has little future.
Media have speculated that Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. (BAIC), Merbanco Inc from Wyoming in the United States and Renco Group Inc. are interested in what is one of Sweden's most widely-recognised brands.
U.S. financier Ira Rennert and his Renco Group and Merbanco were linked with a bid for Saab earlier this year, while BAIC had been backing Koenigsegg's bid.
GM's board meets next week and the question of what to do with Saab will top the agenda.
(Reporting by Victoria Klesty; editing by John Stonestreet)