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.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Rewind to July agreement?

After General Motors (GM) on Monday single-handedly stopped any chance of the current deal where Chinese companies Youngman and Pang Da acquire Saab, the negotiations are now believed to be back at the July agreement. In this deal Youngman will buy 29.9 per cent of Saab's current parent company Swedish Automobile, and Pang Da 24 per cent.

According to Svenska Dagbladet, this deal is much more likely to get thumbs-up from GM than the deal where the Chinese buy 100 per cent of Saab. The newspaper goes so far as to say that according to Victor Muller this solution was approved by GM. And with this deal Saab's current CEO, President and Chairman of the Board, Victor Muller, will remain owner of 27 per cent of Saab.

"Time is a factor here of course," a Saab spokeswoman told just-auto, commenting on the concern that the current memorandum of understanding between Saab's current owner Swedish Automobile and Youngman and Pang Da is valid only until November 15.

"GM is definitely a part of the dialogue - I can't characterise it more precisely than that. It is not as if everything is being discussed without GM. We are understanding GM's position - we are looking for a structure that can be agreed upon. GM has some specific points they would like clarified," Saab spokeswoman told just-auto.

Another hurdle that needs to be passed is the National Development and Reform Commission, the NDRC, which is China's top economic planning body. The question is how the NDRC assess a deal where the Chinese do not get full control over Saab.

But the worries does not end there. Another questioned that has been raised this week is concerns about the financial situation of one of the suitors, Pang Da. According to news reports Pang Da has in just six months burned through 6 billion yuan (approx $945 million). The reason is said to be that the company has changed its business model. The company is now out in the market to raise another 3.8 billion yuan ($598 million) after it was approved by China's Securities Regulatory Commission to sell bonds.

But according to Svenska Dagbladet, which spoke to China expert Frederic Cho from Handelsbanken Capital Markets, this is no issue. If the NDRC approves the deal, the deal will be financed by the Chinese state. And a decision from the NDRC on the matter is expected towards the end of this month.