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.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Discussions with Youngman continue, Bank of China not involved

Updated with the denial that the Government has meddled in the ownership issue and Swedish Automobile's criticism of Guy Lofalk.

Saab has just issued a press release announcing that its parent company Swedish Automobile continues the discussions with Youngman to find a short term solution so that Saab can pay the November wages to its employees as well as the discussions about an equity investment in Saab. It is also confirmed that a bank in China is involved in the discussions. Here is what the press release says:

Swedish Automobile Continues Discussions With Youngman
Trollhättan, Sweden: Swedish Automobile N.V. (Swan) announces it is in discussion with Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. Ltd. (Youngman) and a bank in China about an equity interest in Swan. The discussions include a short term solution to enable Saab Automobile to pay the November wages and continue reorganization. The outcome of the discussions is still uncertain. Any possible transaction would be subject to the approval of the relevant stakeholders. 
Swan will keep the market informed of any developments.

To Svenska Dagbladet Saab's current CEO and Chairman Victor Muller last night confirmed that a new proposal for a deal has been sent to General Motors and that they now are awaiting the response from GM.

And today Victor Muller confirms to Dagens Industri the main parts of the new deal. Pang Da is out of the deal and the current owners of Swedish Automobile will keep a stake in Saab. But there were one important correction on what we have learned so far. The bank involved is not Bank of China. But it is a Chinese bank.

Some less encouraging news is the report from Dagens Industri that the Swedish Government is opposing the latest deal. And the report from TTELA that certain parties (indirectly they point at the Swedish Government and the court appointed administrator Guy Lofalk) are working against the latest deal. Reason being that in this deal Swedish Automobile and Victor Muller still has a stake in Saab.

Maybe its time that the Swedish Government starts doing what they have been elected to do, work for the people! The meddling from the Government and Lofalk has already torpedoed the first Chinese deal, and now they decide to set thousands of people's jobs in jeopardy again?

Update: The press secretary of Sweden's Minister of Enterprise Annie Lööf denies that the Swedish Government has any opinion about the owners of Saab.

"That's just rumors. The Government has no opinion on who should become owners of Saab," press secretary Kenneth Hultgren told

According to Svenska Dagbladet, the Chairman of Swedish Automobile, Hans Hugenholtz, has however sent an email to both the Ministery of Enterprise and the Ministry of Finance in addition to the Swedish National Debt Office, asking for a meeting to discuss the continued handling of the ownership issue. The Ministry of Finance confirms to have received the email.

In this email a letter to Saab's court appointed administrator, Guy Lofalk, is attached. In this letter Swedish Automobile is very critical of Lofalk's meddling in the ownership structure and the company thinks he should have used more time on the reconstruction instead. Swedish Automobile is warning that the company might take the necessary steps to replace Lofalk if he does not stop meddling. The company also claims that Lofalk's actions have delayed a long term solution for Saab.

Svenska Dagbladet also writes that Guy Lofalk is now preparing to stop the reconstruction of Saab. Lofalk has been working for a different deal where Youngman and Pang Da each would take approx. 20 percent of the shares in Saab and the remaining 60 percent where to be hold by a third non-Chinese party. In this deal Swedish Automobile and Victor Muller would have no part.

So in the end all this could boil down to who wins the power struggle between Guy Lofalk and Victor Muller. But the tragedy is that the biggest loser so far has been Saab and its employees, dealers, customers and suppliers. Fingers crossed that this will not be the case in the end!