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, May 30, 2012

Youngman won't give up on Saab, places new bid

Chinese Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile, which has been trying to buy Saab for over a year, has now placed a renewed and better bid on the Saab bankruptcy estate. This according to local Trollhättan newspaper TTELA.

Last week reports came through Swedish media that Youngman had been dropped as a bidder by the bankruptcy administrators. In from the wing came a dark horse later identified as National Electric Vehicle Sweden, a company owned by a Japanese-Chinese consortium.

The past week National Electric Vehicle Sweden has been reported to be the favorite to acquire Saab. According to one report from Svenska Dagbladet, the deal was ready to be signed last weekend but was delayed or stopped for unknown reasons. Sources say that it was the Swedish National Debt Office (NDO) which stopped the deal from being closed on Sunday. Back in 2010 when Saab took a SEK 2.2 billion loan in the European Investment Bank (EIB), the NDO guaranteed the loan and took the shares in Saab Automobile Parts as collateral. Shortly after Saab filed for bankruptcy in December 2011, the NDO redeemed the loan and thus more or less took ownership of Saab Parts.

One might speculate that the NDO stopped the deal with National Electric Vehicle Sweden last weekend because National Electric Vehicle Sweden has no interest in Saab Parts and is therefore unwilling to buy the company from the NDO. Chinese Youngman, on the other hand, is interested in acquiring all of the Saab companies, including Saab Parts, and a sale to Youngman would therefore guarantee that the NDO recovers the money it paid when redeeming Saab's loan in the EIB.

With Chinese Youngman reentering the scene with a renewed and better bid, the NDO might see the possibility of a hassle free and quick sale of Saab Parts. As opposed to using lots of time and money to find new owners for Saab Parts.

Youngman's latest bid is said to be of a considerable amount and the money is said to be available in Europe. According to Dagens Industri, Youngman is willing to pay SEK 4 billion in total, including SEK 2.2 billion for Saab Parts. Dagens Industri also reports that one reason that the deal with National Electric Vehicle Sweden was not reached last weekend, was because the buyers tried to negotiate the price down. So just maybe the Youngman bid is an offer too good to refuse for both the administrators and the NDO?