The Swedish government can guarantee a European Investment Bank loan to General Motors unit Saab if a new owner that can cover half the necessary financing emerges, prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has said.

Saab this week sought protection in Swedish court from creditors after GM decided to cut it loose by the end of this year. Some US reports said GM, despite noting in its pitch for more US government aid that Saab could soon file for reorganisation, had been surprised at the speed at which the Swedish board took action.

According to a Reuters report, Reinfeldt repeated the government did not want to own Saab but said it could guarantee a loan for the company if it found a new owner to keep it running.

“Either GM change their decision on the exit or a new owner or a group of owners will come forward,” he said.

“If there is an owner that provides half of the resources, we can put up a state guarantee for the other half.”

Saab needs around SKR500m a month just to keep running, Reinfeldt has said, and billions of crowns more to invest in new models to make it competitive.

He also told Reuters during a visit to Bratislava the government could guarantee a loan to Volvo because Ford was not preparing an exit from the Swedish firm.