Sweden's government says it has no intention of stepping in to buy Saab should the current protracted refinancing talks come to nothing.

Saab is involved in several discussions to source further cash with the Swedish National Debt Office (SNDO) examining whether Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov could invest in the automaker's property portfolio in exchange for a stake.

Antonov met the SNDO this week although the outcome of the negotiations remains unclear. The Russian's holding company director, Lars Carlstrom, yesterday expressed frustration at the time taken by the European Investment Bank to ratify the deal, a transaction he claimed carried "no risk."

Co-incidentally Swedish prime minister Frederik Reinfeldt met Russian Premier Vladimir Putin in Stockholm yesterday, although a spokesman for Reinfeldt insisted to just-auto from the Swedish capital that Saab "was not on the agenda."

"It is not an affair for the Prime Minister," Reinfeldt's spokesman said, adding: "It is for the SNDO and EIB - they are the ones handling the matter."

Saab's Trollhattan factory has been idle for some weeks now as the automaker struggles to secure the refinancing package.

And despite the Prime Minister's spokesman's reluctance to offer his views, the Swedish Enterprise Ministry, whose Minister Maud Olofsson was also coincidentally in Trollhattan's Vastra Gotaland region on an election campaign, did offer some comments.

"It is fair to say the Swedish government has no intention to buy Saab," a Ministry spokeswoman in Stockholm told just-auto. "The dialogue between Saab and the EIB - they have to get an agreement.

"We don't believe the State is the best runner and owner of a private company. We are not the best to build cars - we believe [in] the free market - there are companies better equipped."

The Ministry spokeswoman also noted any change of ownership with Antonov "or someone else," had to be confirmed with both the EIB and former parent General Motors. It remains unclear why GM would have to approve any such deal.

However, while conceding: "Of course we are worried, there are a lot of people working there," the Enterprise Ministry mounted a robust defence of its role in the affair and its help for Sweden's automotive industry in general.

The Ministry pointed to its SEK3bn (US$499m) investment into automotive projects as well as an annual SEK450m spend into automotive science.