BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Commission on Monday approved a plan by Sweden to guarantee a euro400 million loan from the European Investment Bank for Swedish car maker Saab Automobile AB.
Saab will use the loan, worth $547.6 million, to make safer, more fuel efficient cars.
General Motors sold Saab to Spyker Cars NV of the Netherlands in January for $74 million in cash while retaining preferred Saab shares worth $326 million.
EU antitrust chief Neelie Kroes said by guaranteeing the EIB loan, Sweden "will contribute to the implementation of Saab's business plan without giving rise to any undue distortions of competition."
She said in a statement 82.8 percent of the guarantee was in line with special subsidy rules to help EU governments overcome the economic and financial crisis. The other 17.2 percent will be provided on market conditions and therefore does not constitute unfair state aid, said Kroes.
Saab's sale to Spyker ensured the survival of the 72-year-old Swedish brand, which for now has avoided the fate of other doomed General Motor's brands Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer.