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.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day of final bids

Today is the (unconfirmed) date set by the Saab bankruptcy administrators for the final bids on Saab. We should have some very interesting weeks coming. Which suitor will be chosen as preferred bidder? Which suitor(s) will give up on Saab?

One suitor has already dropped out. Turkish Brightwell Holdings dropped out at the end of February. Reason being General Motors reluctance to license technology to any new owner of Saab.

Two other suitors we know have a serious interest in Saab, are Chinese Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile and Indian Mahindra & Mahindra. Youngman has been in the race to acquire Saab for almost a year now. First the company were looking to become partner and part owner of Saab, later sole owner. The company has been reported to have made a SEK 2 billion opening bid on Saab. A bid the Chinese were open to increase if needed. In addition, they are ready to invest SEK 12 billion in the development of new Saab models based on the Phoenix platform.

So far we have gotten no confirmation that Mahindra has made a bid. We just know that they have shown an interest. But according to TTELA and SR P4 Väst, the Indians have also placed a bid. Apart from that, we know very little about Mahindra's ambitions for Saab. But it is safe to assume that they are interested in the Phoenix platform.

One week ago we also got the reports that a Japanese-Chinese consortium has placed a bid on Saab. The reports say that this consortium plans to start producing electric cars and batteries in Trollhättan. According to just-auto, the Japanese-Chinese consortium plan initially to use the 9-3 as the base for an electric car. But the cars will not be branded as Saabs.

Sounds like a bad business case, doesn't it? But what makes it much more believabe and scary is that the Swedish government is said to be "heavily involved" in the discussions to sell Saab to this consortium. Several meetings are said to been held between the consortium, the Japanese government and the Swedish government.

So who will end up as new owner(s) of Saab?

According to a report in TTELA today, Indian Mahindra and the Japanese-Chinese consortium are the favorites. As always, these claims are based on unnamed sources and should be taken with a pinch of salt. But I know which of these two parties I want for new owner of Saab. Mahindra!