Bloomberg News

Saab Says Swiss Gripen Fighter Decision May Take All Year

January 31, 2012

(Updates with Saab statement on Hungary contract in the seventh paragraph.)

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Saab AB, which won a tentative Gripen jet fighter order with Switzerland, said final negotiations may take all year and that it’s “natural” that rival Dassault Aviation SA is still fighting for a deal.

“It’s not surprising they haven’t given up,” Erik Magni, a Saab spokesman, said today by phone. It’s “part of the game” that Dassault is still competing, he said.

Saab and Switzerland are holding negotiations that probably will “take up all of 2012,” Magni said, adding the country’s parliament has yet to make a decision and that the nation may hold a referendum on the issue.

Dassault made a fresh attempt to sell its Rafale fighter to Switzerland, offering 18 of the aircraft for 2.7 billion Swiss francs ($2.94 billion) after the government picked Saab in November, SonntagsZeitung reported, citing a letter sent to politicians.

The offer is about 400 million Swiss francs cheaper than the price Saab set for 22 Gripen jets Switzerland agreed to buy, the newspaper reported. Dassault initially demanded 4 billion francs for 22 Rafale jets. The new offer reduces the number of planes and adapts the jets more to Swiss requirements, the report said.

Dassault spokesmen didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

Separately, Hungary today extended the period that it’s leasing Gripen planes from the Swedish government by 10 years to 2026, Saab said in a statement. Sweden is Saab’s biggest Gripen customer.

Saab fell as much as 3.2 percent and was down 2.3 percent at 144.6 kronor at 3 p.m. in Stockholm. Dassault was up 2.8 percent in Paris.

--Editors: Thomas Mulier, David Risser

To contact the reporters on this story: Ola Kinnander in Stockholm at okinnander@bloomberg.net; Benedikt Kammel in Berlin at bkammel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net


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