IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A recap of the planned ownership changes in Saab

At the moment there are three investors/companies who have applied to become shareholder of Swedish Automobile (previously known as Spyker Cars) and thus part owner of Saab Automobile.

The first to file an application was Russian banker Mr. Vladimir Antonov. An application for him to become owner was filed on 29 March. The Swedish National Debt Office (NDO) approved him as part owner of Saab on 28 April. Mr. Antonov wants to own up to 29.9 percent of Saab, which would cost him EUR 30 million. In addition it has been reported that he is willing to invest up to SEK 1 billion (approx EUR 110 million).

Mr. Vladimir Antonov 

The second to file an application was Gemini Investment Funds Ltd. This application was filed with the NDO 6 May. Gemini already owns 8.11 percent of Swedish Automobile and thus Saab, and needs an approval to own more than 10 percent. Gemini has given Saab a loan of EUR 30 million, and as this loan can be converted into shares, something which is very likely due to Saab's financial squeeze, Gemini needs an approval as their stake surely will increase to more than 10 percent when the loan is converted into shares. Swedish media has reported that Gemini might be connected to Mr Antonov's companies, but it is uncertain what this connection is.

There was also filed an application concerning Chinese Hawtai Motor Group becoming part owner, but since Hawtai could not get approval from Chinese authorities, their plans to invest in Saab was cancelled.

The third, and as of now the final application to be filed with the NDO, concerns Chinese Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. Ltd. The Chinese company wants to invest EUR 65 million in Saab and get up to 24 percent of the ownership. The application was received by the NDO on 23 May. In addition to the planned investment, Saab and Pang Da plan to cooperate on distribution and sale of Saab cars in China, and also local manufacturing of Saab cars in China.

Chairman and General Manager of Pang Da Automobile Trade, Pang Qinghua 

In other words, at the moment there are three parties who want to become part owners of Saab. Just-Auto reports today that Mr. Antonov has been fully informed about Pang Da's planned investment in Saab and he supports it. As Gemini is an investment fund and probably not aiming at being an active owner, they will probably have no objections to neither Mr. Antonov nor Pang Da.

So far only Mr. Antonov has been approved by the Swedish National Debt Office (NDO). Gemini and Pang Da are still awating the NDO's decision. In addition, both the European Investment Bank (EIB) and General Motor (GM) needs to approve all three hopeful investors/companies. Both the EIB and GM are taking their time. According to just-auto the EIB "remain tight-lipped today". At the moment it does look like the EIB and possibly GM will be the hurdles Mr. Antonov can have trouble clearing. The EIB has shown earlier that its reluctant to have anything to do with Mr. Antonov. It is unclear how the EIB and GM see Pang Da as possible new part owners.

The Swedish Government also needs to approve new owners, but statements from the Minister of Enterprise and Energy, Ms. Maud Olofsson, suggest that the Government will approve the owners if the NDO, the EIB and GM do so first.

Finally Chinese Pang Da also needs and approval from China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which is China's top economic planning body. This approval is very uncertain as Chinese authorities stopped Hawtai's attempt at buying into Saab and is pushing for consolidation of the country's car manufacturers. If they don't agree that a Saab and Pang Da cooperation is the best for China, they will stop the deal.

So there you have it. We need 'just'  1, 2, 3,...,11 and 12 YES and Saab is part owned by Mr. Antonov, Pang Da and Gemini.