European supplier body CLEPA estimates up to EUR700m (US$910m) could be made available for beleaguered Saab to restart production, if plans by Chinese manufacturer Youngman and an unnamed Chinese investor bear fruit.

CLEPA CEO, Lars Holmqvist, revealed the figures that cap a roller-coaster week for the stricken automaker, which has seen Saab CEO Victor Muller refusing to bow to pressure to voluntarily submit bankruptcy, an initial payment of EUR3.4m made by Youngman and the departure of administrator, Guy Lofalk.

"That means [they - Youngman] will provide EUR200m and a financial investor will provide EUR500m - that will be enough to restart and give Saab a chance," said Holmqvist. "Youngman has already spent a lot of money, if nothing else to protect the investment they have already made."

The CLEPA boss also revealed this week's mood had swung from one of gloom to hope following his receipt of a bank statement indicating Chinese manufacturer Youngman had paid Saab EUR3.4m, believed to have covered overdue Swedish government taxes.

The supplier chief also detailed how Muller had been urged to declare bankruptcy in a bid to avoid any personal liabilities, but had resisted, a move Holmqvist endorsed.

"We have been up and down listening to Victor Muller," he said. "On Friday I was quite pessimistic and on Friday night he [Muller] sent a copy of the statement slip that the money had been sent by Youngman.

"Then, on Monday, he was pressed by people around him to file for bankruptcy. They were afraid they would be personally responsible for debts. But he refused and he was right because the money arrived and he got a respite again. Another rabbit hopped up from the hat - I knew what was going on, but I did not think it was going to be in time."

The Vanersborg District Court is due to assess Saab's bankruptcy protection position next Monday (19 December) - with a new administrator - Lars-Henrik Andersson - in place following the request by Guy Lofalk to exit his involvement with Saab.

"If the Court says we don't believe, then you know what the consequences are for us, we lose a lot of money [EUR150m]," said Holmqvist. "We will support any attempt to try to restart Saab. We are just waiting for the green light."

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