10/28/2011 04:44 EDT | Updated 12/27/2011 05:12 EST

Chinese companies in tentative deal to buy Saab

STOCKHOLM - Two Chinese companies have reached a tentative deal to take over struggling car maker Saab for €100 million ($141 million), the company's Dutch owner Saab Automobile said Friday.

The move by Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. marks the latest rescue attempt for cash-strapped Saab, which has been fighting for survival since General Motors Co. sold it to a Dutch company now known as Swedish Automobile.

Production at Saab's manufacturing plant has been suspended for most of the year while the company has struggled to pay suppliers and staff.

Swedish Automobile, previously known as Spyker Cars, said it had entered a memorandum of understanding with Youngman and Pang Da for the sale of all shares in Saab. A final agreement would need approval from relevant authorities, it said.

Guy Lofalk, who is in charge of Saab's reorganization under bankruptcy protection, withdrew his earlier request to terminate that process, saying the Chinese deal had improved the chances of a successful outcome.

In a document filed at the Vanersborg District Court, Lofalk said "these new conditions must be investigated before a decision can me made on terminating the reorganization."

The two Chinese firms had earlier agreed to invest €245 million for a 53.9 per cent stake in Saab, but the deal was held up by Chinese regulators and Swedish Automobile cancelled that agreement on Sunday.