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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Youngman to place billion bid on Saab

According to Reuters, Chinese Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile will next week place a bid for Saab in its entirety and the bid will be billions of SEK.

Reuters report that a source with knowledge of the process has confirmed that a bid is likely next week. But there is no information on how and if Youngman plan to continue producing Saab cars under GM licenses.

To Swedish Radio GM spokesman James Cain however said that current GM is not discussing technology licenses with any parties.

"We are not in discussion with anyone," James Can said to P4 Väst.

But Youngman might be planning something else. From TTELA today we learned that Youngman might be planning to manufacture a Lotus car in the Trollhättan factory.

"Youngman has a plan to produce the next Saab 9-3, producing a new Lotus in the Saab factory and develop the Phoenix technology. This should be considered seriously," Lars Holmqvist, CEO of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers Clepa told TTELA.

But as reported earlier today, the technology consultancy company Semcon has placed a bid for parts of the Saab development equipment. And the fear is that the bankruptcy administrators have or will accept this bid and thereby start the shattering of Saab.

Reuters' sources said that the administrators are preparing to sell parts of Saab's business to Semcon. And that would leave little for a buyer interested in continuing to build cars.

"The big danger is that Semcon has agreed a deal with the administrators over large parts of Saab Automobile that would make it impossible for anyone to buy Saab as a whole," one source told Reuters.

But as reported on Tuesday, Hemfosa, which owns a large part of the Saab Property company, is reluctant to renting their buildings out to Semcon at this point, possibly because Hemfosa wants to wait and see if someone is willing to buy the entire Saab operations. And Hemfosa's reluctancy will hopefully stop any deal with Semcon for the time being.

Yesterday it was revealed that the bankruptcy administrators have turned down an invitation to travel to China and meet Youngman and get a presentation of their plans. Someone who have not turned down such an invitation, are Trollhättan City manager Annika Wennerblom and the region's development director Bertil Törsäter. This afternoon they departed to China with a delegation which also includes representatives from the suppliers and the labor unions, and possibly also from the Ministry of Enterprises.

On Thursday the plan is to visit two of Youngman's factories, according to Christer Palm, who is chairman of the Swedish suppliers association FKG and board member of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers CLEPA.

On Friday they will meet the management of Youngman.

"I consider this a way for Youngman to put pressure on the administrators to speed up the process. It is a pity that the administrators are not coming, but the journey itself may still speed them up," said Christer Palm to TTELA.

Despite General Motors' resistance, Christer Palm believes that there are possibilities for Youngman.

"They can build the current Saab 9-3 and also start producing other cars at the Trollhättan factory until the new platform is fully developed."