Sweden repays Saab’s European Investment Bank loan image

Sweden’s Debt Office has paid back loans the European Investment Bank made to Saab, with the country now being the bankrupt carmaker’s biggest creditor.

The Debt Office had to pay the loans as it guaranteed Saab’s original €400 million loan from the EIB, of which the carmaker used €217 million. “The debt amounts to slightly less than 2.2 billion crowns ($325 million),” the Debt Office said in statement on Friday. As collateral, Sweden’s Debt Office took shares in Saab Automobile Parts and Saab Automobile Tools which itsw says are worth more than the loan.

According to Debt Office spokeswoman Unii Jerndal, Saab’s bankruptcy triggered the payment. She added that Sweden remained in favor of selling the whole company rather than breaking it up in the bankruptcy process. The 400 million loan gave the Swedish government, as well as the EIB, a veto over ownership changes.

According to sources quoted by Reuters, Chinese group Zhejiang Youngman Lotus was preparing a bid last week. Saab shut down production early last year after running out of money to pay suppliers and workers. The company was declared bankrupt in December after Dutch owner Swedish Automobile could not get former owner GM to agree to a Chinese-backed rescue deal.