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.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

GM just trying to scare away Youngman?

This weekend we got the news that Gangster Motors (GM) claims that it must not only approve any changes in the ownership of Saab Automobile but also in who is providing the funds to operate Saab. A claim which of course is totally ludicrous. But the question is if the statement is enough to scare Youngman and the Chinese bank off, and if not, will the next months and years see numerous legal battles between Swedish Automobile and GM?

Lars Holmqvist, CEO of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA), does not think that GM legally can stop the deal.

"I think this is a statement to keep the Chinese partner SAIC in a good mood, because it shows that GM is trying to stop the transfer of technology to China," Lars Holmqvist said to Swedish Radio.

"I believe that it probably is not possible to stop it legally. The way the deal is arranged, as I have been informed by Victor Muller, should be in such a way that it can be done despite the deals signed between GM and Swedish Automobile when Saab was bought two years ago," said Holmqvist.

When Saab in February 2010 was sold from GM to Spyker Cars (now named Swedish Automobile), the sale also consisted of several technology deals so that Saab could continue producing the Saab 9-3 and the Saab 9-5 which are based on GM owned technology, and GM would supply Saab with the Saab 9-4X. Deals that require GM's approval before any changes in the ownership of Saab can be carried out.

"I think it is very strange that GM made this statement yesterday. Nobody has informed GM, at least not the two parties which are negotiating. And I do not understand how GM can make a statement on an issue they have not been asked to respond to," Holmqvist said.

Lars Holmqvist believes that Saab can still complete the loan deal with Youngman, but the question is whether Youngman now dares.

"This does probably just mean that Youngman, the partner, can get doubtful and that can turn into a disaster in this case, because it could mean that the promised money is not paid," Lars Holmqvist said.

"But otherwise I do not think it has any affect. Victor Muller has been aware of this all long, Youngman too, and they have reach an arrangement which a lot of lawyers have looked at. I believe that it holds up from a purely legal point of view, but it is possible that this is psychological warfare by GM to stop Saab."

And according to Saab's CEO Victor Muller, Youngman has so far not seemed to be affected by GM's statement.

"The negotiations are ongoing. So far there has been no reaction from Youngman on GM's statement," Victor Muller wrote to Swedish Radio this morning.