December 4, 2011 / 7:54 PM / 7 years ago

Bank of China to step in as Saab part owner: source

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Saab’s Dutch owner and China’s Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile have agreed that the Bank of China, the nation’s fourth-largest bank by market value, will come in as part owner of the ailing carmaker, according to a source familiar with the deal.

Under the new deal, the Bank of China will replace Chinese investor Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. Youngman and the Bank of China will own just under 50 percent of the company.

The move could help pave the way for an approval by General Motors, which still has preferential shares in Saab and rejected an earlier rescue plan. It said in November it would stop supplying components and technology if Youngman and Pang Da succeeded with their acquisition bid.

Saab has lurched from crisis to crisis in the past year. The company has not produced a car in months because of unpaid salaries and bills.

The new plan has been handed over to GM.

The salaries, which are already a little more than a week late, will be paid to Saab staff on Monday.

Saab was not immediately available to comment.

The company is currently under court protection from creditors in Sweden after unions representing Saab employees began proceedings to put it into bankruptcy over unpaid wages.

Pang Da operates auto dealerships in China while Youngman produces commercial vehicles, including buses and trucks, and sells cars under the Lotus brand.

GM operates in China in a partnership with state-run automaker SAIC Motor Corp Ltd.

Reporting by Mia Shanley in Stockholm and Sara Webb in Amsterdam; Editing by Jan Paschal

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