Sweden's Debt Office has paid back loans the European Investment Bank made to Saab, making the Nordic country the bankrupt car company's biggest creditor and simplifying the approvals process for any buyer.

Saab, one of Sweden's best-known brands, shut down production early last year after running out of money to pay suppliers and workers.

Receivers said last week that they had been in discussions with several possible bidders and daily Dagens Industri wrote on Friday that a bid from a Turkish private equity company could come as early as next week.

The Debt Office guaranteed Saab's original 400 million euro (334 million pounds) loan from the EIB, of which the carmaker used 217 million euros.

The debt amounts to slightly less than 2.2 billion crowns ($325 million), the Debt Office said on Friday.

Shares of Saab Automobile Parts and Saab Automobile Tools held as collateral by the Debt Office are worth more than the loan, it said.

Although Saab's bankruptcy triggered the payment, the exit of the EIB from Saab's creditor roster will make it easier for a would-be buyer.

The loan gave the EIB -- and Sweden -- a veto over any ownership changes.

Debt Office spokeswoman Unni Jerndal said Sweden was in favour of selling the whole company rather than breaking it up in the bankruptcy process.

Sources told Reuters last week Chinese group Zhejiang Youngman Lotus, which has been negotiating for months for a stake in Saab, was preparing a bid.

That bid has yet to materialise.

But daily Dagens Industri wrote on Friday that Turkish investment firm Brightwell Holdings was just days from launching its own offer for Saab.

We are a few days, maybe a week away, the paper quoted Brightwell spokesperson Zamier Ahmed as saying.

It depends on certain final valuations that need to be done. It has been a huge task, given Saab's size, assets and all the people involved.

Indian utility vehicle maker Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd has also been named by Swedish media as interested in Saab.

However, any buyer faces a major hurdle in getting production going again. Former Saab owner GM supplies technology for Saab's cars and has said it won't agree to hand over licenses to a new owner.

Saab was declared bankrupt after Dutch owner Swedish Automobile could not get GM to agree to a Chinese-backed rescue deal.

(Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)