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Russian throws €50m at Spyker

2011-03-25 14:39

UPHILL BATTLE: Antonov's cash injection is expected to come in handy; Saab is expected to sell around 60 000 vehicles in 2011, well off its 80 000-unit target.

Russian banker and businessman Vladimir Antonov is aiming to return as a near 30 percent shareholder in loss-making Dutch group Spyker, which owns ailing Swedish carmaker Saab.

Antonov was originally part of Spyker's acquisition of Saab from General Motors but quit the deal after facing allegations of money laundering, which he denied.

He has said independent investigations have cleared his name.

Antonov told a news conference in the capital of Lithuania, where he was outlining plans for his Snoras Bank group: "We are discussing currently this opportunity with the Swedish government... we already had a 29.9% stake, so we would like to restore this."

Spyker has struggled to make money and analysts say it needs a long-term strategic investor to restore Saab's fortunes.


Antonov said the issue of his return to Saab had already been settled with General Motors, which has redeemable preference shares in Saab, and he was now in discussions with the Swedish state, which has guaranteed a €400-million loan to Saab.

"I expect the decision to be taken within a few months," he added. He said he could take the stake in Spyker by buying shares from a new issue and some existing shares.

"I would plan to invest up to €50-million but it still remains to be seen how much cash Saab would need."


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