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.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Geely interested in Saab?

According to the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Volvo's Chinese owner Geely is interested in becoming the owner of also Saab. The newspaper cites an unnamed source who makes this claim. The reason would be that Chinese Youngman is about to withdraw from the partnership.

Dagens Nyheter quoted a source saying that "Geely is interested in the whole thing, in terms of production and development."

Furthermore, the source claims that Geely has approached the court-appointed aministrator of the Saab reconstruction, Guy Lofalk, about a deal.

Dow Jones Newswires has however been in contact with Geely's Hong Kong based boss Lawrence Ang, who denies any interest in Saab.

"We have no interest in acquiring Saab," Ang said without making any further comments.

Gunilla Gustavs from Saab told Swedish Radio that there are no truth in the claims that Youngman is withdrawing from the deal with Saab.

In a comment Executive Director Communications at Saab Eric Geers said: "We know that there are several Chinese parties interested, but we have a binding agreement with Youngman and Pang Da and we are waiting for the approval from the Chinese authorities."

There are also being raised concerns that China's approval of Youngman and Pang Da as part owners of Saab may not be given on October 14 as expected.

According to Bengt Hamsten, who is propose by Youngman as board member in Swedish Automobile once the deal is finalized, the decision from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) may drag on.

"I do not believe that the NDRC will make a final decision on October 14. It will probably be a partial decision which solves some problems, but not all," Hamsten told Dagens Industri.

Hamsten also said that Youngman does not have the needed funds to develop Saab, but neither did Geely when the company bought Volvo.

"These guys aren't billionaires, but they obtain the money by partnering with the provinces and the Chinese state."

I will say that the reports about Youngman getting cold feet and Geely suddenly being interested should be taken with a large pinch of salt. This could be just speculations based on the fact that Saab is yet to receive the promised EUR 70 million loan from Youngman and the report that Saab is having a hard time obtaining needed financial information from Youngman in order to get the company approved as part owner in Saab.