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.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mudslinging news

The past weekend we got reports that Saab's parent company Swedish Automobile and Chinese vehicle manufacturer Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile have reached a new agreement for Saab which also involves a Chinese bank, where Swedish Automobile keeps the majority in Saab while the Chinese takes a minority stake. But this deal was done without the consent of the court appointed adminsitrator of the Saab reconstruction, Mr. Guy Lofalk. Lofalk has had his own plans for Saab. Plans which excludeds Saab's current owners.

And now Saab current owner Swedish Automobile asks the administrator Guy Lofalk to stop meddling in the ownership issue or else he will be replaced. And Lofalk responds by telling Swedish Automobile to come up with the money to pay the November wages for the Saab eomployees or else he will take the neccesary steps to end the reconstruction.

Lars Holmqvist, who is head of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, is also fed up with Lofalk's meddling:

"What I hear from Victor Muller, what I reads in the newspapers and what I hear from our industry, he (Lofalk) has acted like he's either was the owner of the company or that he was the liquidator of the company, and none of it is the case. To act on his own in his role as the administrator to interfere with sensitive business solutions only shows that he has misunderstood his role and he does not have a clue how to handle these things in our industry," Lars Holmqvist told Swedish Radio P4 Väst.

It is very apparent that there is a struggle for power in Saab.

In China Mr. Pang Qinghua of the Chinese vehicle distributor Pang Da Automobile Trade Co, which at one point was part of the deal to buy Saab, is obviously upset that he is no longer a part of the deal.

"It's ridiculous that a State-owned bank would enter the manufacturing industry as a shareholder," Pang was quoted on Monday.

"Pang Da's replacement by a Chinese bank in the Saab deal is not true. I have confirmed it with Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission," Pang said.

In a statement later Pang Da was more mild: "China's Pang Da Automobile Trade Co will continue talks with various parties including Saab on plans to invest in the crisis-hit Swedish carmaker." And continued "In principle, we would not oppose any plan that would be good for Saab's restructuring and help it out of the current plight."

But is it ridiculous that a bank might enter the field? Not everybody worth listening to in China thinks so.

"it's possible for a small or medium-sized Chinese bank to get in on the act, using foreign currency to purchase the stake and then transferring the shares to Chinese investors after the acquisition. A bank would find it easier to get the green light from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange for the financing of the investment," Guo Tianyong, an economist at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, said.

But that would of course only bring up the issue with change of ownership yet another time and General Motors would once again possible say no.