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.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Negotiating backwards

Today Swedish Automobile, which is the current parent company of Saab Automobile, held an extraordinary general shareholders meeting. At this meeting the shareholders were briefed that if a deal with the Chinese can't be reached within shortly, Saab is in danger of bankruptcy. But there were no reports of any break through in the negotiations with the Chinese suitors Youngman and Pang Da, or with GM which earlier has refused to sell technology to Saab should Saab be sold to the Chinese.

Dagens Industri writes that shareholders present at the general meeting now reports that Swedish Automobile is working to extend the current memorandum of understanding with the Chinese so that negotiations can continue beyond November 15. The aim now seems to be to return to an agreement where the Chinese become only part owners of Saab, instead of taking full ownership over Saab.

The ownership structure of the original deal of July was "very carefully crafted" Muller told the Wall Street Journal, with three large minority shareholders, non of which had control of the company. But then the Chinese instead wanted to buy 100 percent of Saab Automobile, which GM could not accept. Now the parties are trying to find a new ownership structure that GM can accept, but the old from July is "off the table."

"We have negotiated ourselves backwards," Victor Muller told the Wall Street Journal

On Thursday this week Saab sent over and an information pack to GM to clarify any misunderstanding or questions GM might have concerning Saab's China plans. Among other thing a clarification whether the current Saab 9-3 and Saab 9-5 are planned to be manufactured in China. So now once again Saab is waiting for a response from GM.

At the same time Saab's current CEO Victor Muller tells TTELA that now even the Swedish government with the new Minister of Enterprise has gotten involved in persuading GM to accept a deal where the Chinese take a stake in Saab.

In other words, still lots of uncertainty. The only certain thing in the world of Saab is that the next week will be very interesting.