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 20, 2011

Chinese, Turks and undisclosed parties interested in the Saab bankruptcy estate

Updated with info from bankruptcy administrator on the number of interested parties

According to Dagens Industri, Chinese Youngman is ready to buy the Saab bankruptcy estate. The bid will be for the whole or parts of the business that does not rely on the General Motors (GM) technology.

"We want to secure workplaces and see to it that the business can stay in Trollhättan. But the production will not remain at the same level as it has been," said lawyer and spokesman for Youngman Johan Nylén to DI.

The bid will more or less be for the Phoenix technology, which is not fully developed. But Nylén will not rule out other parts not dependent on GM technology.

"We will immediately start a dialogue with GM, but also with the bankruptcy administrators. We are very keen to have a good relationship with General Motors," Johan Nylén told DI.

To TTELA Johan Nylén said that Youngman will arrive to Sweden tomorrow to meet the bankruptcy administrators.

"The management of the company [Youngman] was very disappointed by GM's response this weekend, but they are still interested in finding a solution. They will act fast. They are interested in Saab's technology development, Saab Powertrain and the Phoenix technology. Or rather they are really interested in saving as much as possible of the existing operations in Trollhättan," Nylén said to TTELA.

According to Nylén, Youngman is interested in producing the current Saab 9-3 which is not based on unqiue GM technology and then start producing cars based on the new Phoenix technology.

"But the new models can not be introduced on the market for another one or two years, and until then it's all about surviving in some form."

But Youngman is not the only interested party. According to Norwegian business newspaper Dagens Næringsliv, at least ten different parties have been in discussions with Victor Muller lately with the aim to invest in Saab.

Swedish TTELA now writes that several Chinese parties have shown interest for the Saab bankruptcy estate. Probably including vehicle manufacturers other than Youngman. Maybe the former suitor BIAC?

According to TT, the number of parties interested in taking over the whole or parts of the bankruptcy estate is five. This according to the bankruptcy administrator. One is Youngman and if DI and TTELA is correct, we can assume that one is Turkish and one other is Chinese.

One of the other non-Chinese parties might be Turkish. Dagens Industri reports that the Turkish embassy has been in contact with both Sweden's Ministry of Enterprise and Saab's owner Swedish Automobile expressing interest in Saab. Turkey has many car factories but no car brands. CEO of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA), Lars Holmqvist, does however think that the Turks are only interested in the technology and not the Trollhättan factory.

"Regardless of who buys all or parts of Saab's facilities, there is little chance of it staying in Trollhättan," Lars Holmqvist told Sedish TV SVT.

So now it looks like Saab must rely on the good will from the interested parties rather than GM after the American company decided to show Saab no mercy. But at the same time it must rely on the two other companies which holds the rights to the Saab name and Gripen logo. These are the aerospace and defence company Saab AB and the commercial vehicle developer and producer Scania AB. These two companies can turn out to be crucial in deciding the destany of the Saab brand and the future of Trollhättan. And one can hope that they will set conditions, e.g. that Saab must stay in Trollhättan with both development and manufacturing, for anyone to buy and use the brand, including the Chinese.

You can read more about the agreement that protects of the use of the Saab name and the Gripen logo here.

And to GM I have this message: Hands off! If GM as much as considers biding on the Phoenix technology to keep it away from other manufacturers, then GM is in for trouble!