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.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Brightwell Holdings one step closer to buying Saab

Updated January 27 8:52 with info about Brightwell's electric car ambitions

Apologies for no updates yesterday and so far today. Not much has happened that has leaked to the media and the news that the museum was saved deserved to be the top story for a while.

Today we got the news that Turkish private-equity firm Brightwell Holdings and the bankruptcy administrators have entered a confidentiality agreement. Which could mean that the company has placed a bid for Saab or will place a bid within shortly.

"We have signed a confidentiality agreement, but that means that I can not say much," said Zamier Ahmed, board member of Brightwell Holdings to Swedish Radio P4 Väst.

"We have close communication with the administrators. We can make an offer as soon as they [the administrators] are ready to receive bids," said Ahmed.

Alphan Manas CEO of Brightwell told Turkish news that they signed the agreement on Saturday.

"We signed a confidentiality agreement last week on Saturday," Manas told Turkish MSNBC.

And the Turks seem confident that they are in the best position to buy Saab.

"We have to see what terms we can offer GM. Obviously, we are standing by at the moment. Within two weeks we will gain more clarity about the future situation. But, in our opinion, because the Chinese and Indian companies require an approval process, I see a low likelihood of them buying," said Manas.

Brightwell seem to be especially interested in Saab's electric car technology.

"My aim is to take the brand back and bring out an electric car, especially in Turkey. Saab is now ready for the electric car. So electric cars are my priority," Manas said and continued "It's my goal to develop a good electric car brand. This is the main reason for my interest in Saab. Currently, there's an electric vehicle prototype. It has been developed together with U.S. and Swedish companies. The product is very very good. Very very successful. We have seen the product."

Manas is obviously talking about the Saab 9-3 SportCombi ePower prototype cars which were under assembly when Saab ran into financial problems last year. As far as I know, some of the car were assembled and should be fully functional electric cars.

The question is if Brightwell plan to keep the production in Sweden for long, or if they will move it Turkey within a few years.

"My goal is to produce electric cars, absolutely and definitely in Turkey," Manas said.

Over to something else. One man who most likely has had a great day today is head of the Saab car museum Peter Bäckström. On Tuesday the municipality of Trollhättan together with Saab AB and the Wallenberg Foundation bought the car collection and in doing so making sure that it stays in Sweden and Trollhättan.

"I don't think I really have grasped it yet. The solution with Saab AB, Trollhättan city, and the Wallenberg could not have been better. This opportunity the buyers give us allow us to begin to look forward," said Peter Bäckström to TTELA.

And the Saab veteran club is ready to help the museum by working for free.

"Around one hundred of Saab's seniors are probably interested in being hosts at the museum from time to time," said Olle Granlund, who retired from Saab ten years where he amongst other things were project manager for the 9-5.

In other words, the future for the Saab museum looks promising. So at least the Saab heritage has been secured!