The Swedish government said on Tuesday it had asked the European Commission to assess whether proposed loan guarantees to Saab Automobile would break rules on state support.

A spokeswoman for Swedish Industry Minister Maud Olofsson said the government sent a notification to Brussels on Friday regarding 400 million euros ($585 million) of guarantees being considered for loans from the European Investment Bank.

This does not mean that the government has decided to approve any loan guarantees, which is a decision to consider at a later stage, said Johanna Martin, spokeswoman for Olofsson.

The government simply wants to be well prepared.

Martin denied media reports overnight that the notification to the Commission meant the center-right government had committed to the deal that would see luxury sportscar maker Koenigsegg buy Saab from General Motors.

State guarantees for the EIB loans are a key part of the financing of the deal, but the debt office, which is negotiating the guarantees on behalf of the government, has yet to strike an agreement on the matter.

The decision to hand in a notification to the European Commission was one piece of the puzzle, signifying optimism that a deal might be reached, though several hurdles remained in the process, Martin said.

It is a formality in the sense that it is a step in the process that must be handled, but the government is also keen to be well prepared, she said.

There are still these other parts that must be in place, so the process is in no way ready just because we hand in the notification, but one can interpret it as signifying that the government does see possibilities.

(Editing by Will Waterman)

($1=.6840 Euro)