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Spyker seeking funding to pay for Saab

Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker Cars said it is still looking for an investor to fund a third of its $74 million cash payment for the acquisition of struggling Swedish carmaker Saab from GM.

The tiny Dutch luxury carmaker, which produces several dozen handmade sports cars a year, clinched an audacious deal to buy Saab from General Motors last week.

In a statement late on Monday, Spyker Cars said Saab is forecast to return to profitability by 2012 and its focus on three to four niche models will require funding of €1 billion, but it still needs to fully finance the acquisition.

Spyker Cars said the first cash installment of $50 million consists of $25 million borrowed from an investment vehicle of Spyker's chief executive, Victor Muller, and $25 million from the issue of shares, largely to GEM Global Yield Fund Ltd.

A second installment of $24 million -- payable on July 15, 2010 -- has not been funded.

“Spyker has been approached by various investors to fund this installment. Spyker intends to finance this amount primarily through senior debt,” the company said, adding Spyker has pledged assets to GM as security for the final payment.

But Muller told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that the company has “quite a lot of time” to obtain the funding.

“We have many opportunities to see where we will get the money from. We have half a year for that,” he was quoted as saying.

Spyker Cars said Saab aims to raise production to pre-crisis levels of about 100,000 to 125,000 cars, including the 9-4X built in Mexico and its sales and distribution approach will be revitalized this year.

“Spyker believes that through the purchase of Saab it has a rare opportunity to acquire and rebuild a global car brand which will be repositioned towards an independent performance-oriented niche car company,” Spyker Cars said in the statement ahead of its shareholder meeting on February 12.

Saab will focus on three to four models: the 9-3, 9-5 and the 9-4X for both the US and European markets.

In addition, Saab will investigate the potential of adding a fourth smaller car line (9-1), but this model is not part of the business plan and additional financing would be needed.

Saab Spyker said it is committed to the business plan, which was drawn up by Saab management over the past 10 months.

The plan will be partly financed by GM through $326 million redeemable preference shares, favorable supply terms and deferred payments from Saab to GM, plus cash and a 400 million-euro European Investment Bank (EIB) loan.

Spyker and Saab will operate as two separate companies, each focused on their distinct target markets, Spyker Cars said. (Reuters)