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 19, 2012

Youngman to place 5 billion bid and cut ties to GM

Updated 21:54 with info from E24

Yesterday we learned from Reuters that Youngman is planning to place a bid on the Saab bankruptcy estate next week. Today also Swedish Dagens Industri reports the same news and even says that the bid is SEK 5 billion.

According to DI, in addition to the SEK 5 billion bid, Youngman is also prepared to invest another SEK 5 billion into Saab in order to finish the development of the Phoenix platform and the next Saab 9-3.

Both Chairman of Youngman Pang Qingnian and CEO of Youngman's car division Rachel Pang will travel to Sweden next week to present the offer to the bankruptcy administrators.

A SEK 5 billion bid will probably mean that the suppliers, which Saab owes around SEK 1.5 billion, will be paid. But also Saab's approx. EUR 217 million loan in the European Investment Bank will be redeemed and thus free the collateral (including the Saab Parts company) that the Swedish state has in Saab. And maybe even fellow Chinese company Pang Da will get paid its EUR 45 million for cars never delivered?

Youngman's plan is to continue producing the current 9-3 model in Trollhättan, but now free of GM parts.

"The plan is to restart production of the Saab 9-3 in Trollhättan 15 weeks after an agreement is signed with the administrators," a source of Dagens Industri told the newspaper.

The plan is to replace the GM parts with parts from other suppliers.

"This applies to gearboxes and engines. Who these new suppliers are can not be disclosed at this time. Other components related to GM will be delivered from new suppliers with no connection to GM," the source said.

Earlier it has been mentioned that Youngman would like to source engines from an Italian suppplier, which could point to Fiat. The diesel engines Saab currently use were developed by a Fiat and GM joint-venture, which would make Fiat diesels easier to adopt to the Saab 9-3.

In addition, we also know that Saab reached a deal with BMW in September 2010 in which BMW would supply their 1.6 turbo petrol engine to the next generation Saab 9-3. Saab has had about one year to test and get to know this engine. Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson once said that it takes two years to find, test, install and validate a new engine. Can the use of the BMW engine in the current Saab 9-3 be a possibility?

According to Swedish business news E24, today's Dagens Industri article also says that the current Saab 9-3 will only be sold on the Chinese market. Furthermore, key employees will be offered a considerable raise in salaries if they return to Saab. And finally it says that the bid and the business plan are anchored with the labor unions.