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Saab steps closer to resuming production

Saab is a step closer to resuming production following approval from the Swedish government of plans to sell the Saab Automobile Property subsidiary to Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov and lease it back.

The Swedish carmaker, owner by Spyker Cars, has had to cease production since earlier this month following a cashflow crisis and payment disputes with suppliers.

Government approval of the plan was needed, as it has provided guarantees for Saab's loan from the European Investment Bank.

The government is stipulating that there be a review of the prospective buyer Vladimir Antonov and that the payments come through a bank that he does not control.

As part of the deal, Saab's loan from the European Investment Bank will be lowered to US$404m.

Antonov originally held a stake of nearly 30% in Spyker, which he was forced to sell as a condition of the Dutch firm's acquisition of Saab from General Motors due to concerns over Antonov's alleged connections to organised crime.

In March 2011, Spyker chief executive officer Victor Muller told the Financial Times that GM had dropped its objections to Antonov coming back as a shareholder.

In February this year, Spyker Cars agreed to sell its sports car business to UK-based coachbuilder CPP Global Holdings, which is owned by Antonov.

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