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.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bankruptcy administrators demand NEVS pays for Saab by Friday or no deal

Yesterday Swedish Radio P4 Väst reported that the company which has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile, Netional Electric Vehicle Sweden, so far has only made a down payment of SEK 150 million of the agreed purchase price og approx. SEK 1.8 billion. According to P4 Väst, NEVS has had trouble getting the funding for the remaining amount.

Today Dagens Industri reports that the bankruptcy administrators have given NEVS an ultimatum: Pay by Friday of the deal is off.

NEVS does however say to P4 Väst that the company has access to the needed funds.

"We have the needed funds to go through with the business plan and close the deal," said NEVS spokesman Matthias Bergman to P4 Väst.

"It is a complex deal and we are working hard to close it as soon as possible. The funding is not one of the unresolved issues," he continued.

The question remains: Is NEVS a credible buyer of Saab?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Spyker partners up with Youngman to make luxury Saab based vehicles

My first thought was that this had to be an old press release from 2011 that somehow had found its way back into the headline of Automotive News Europe, but believe it or not, Spyker and Youngman have actually agreed to form yet another partnership. This time to cooperate in using the license to the Saab Pheonix architecture, which Youngman bought in September 2011, to develop and produce a number of luxury vehicles.

According to TTELA, CEO of Spyker and former CEO of Saab Automobile, Victor Muller, says that the cars will draw inspiration from the Saab design and the man in charge of the design will be no other than Jason Castriota, former design chief of Saab.

"There will definitly be a lot of Saab in the cars, but they will be more premium. We will continue where we left off," Victor Muller says.

Youngman will invest several million Euros and the first car can be ready to launch at the end of 2015.

Everybody who have followed the Saab saga the past years will see the similarities with several other framework deals that have been signed between Spyker and other companies, deals that somehow all ended up with nothing.  Do we believe in this last deal?

The Spyker press release:

Press release

Zeewolde, the Netherlands, 27 August 2012 -- Spyker N.V. ("Spyker") announces that it signed a Framework Agreement with the Chinese car manufacturer Zhejiang Youngman Passenger Car Group Co, Ltd ("Youngman") today.

Today's Framework Agreement entails the following :

* Subject to satisfactory completion by Youngman of a due diligence on Spyker and the satisfaction of relevant conditions to be set forth in the definitive transaction documentation, Youngman will invest Euro 10,000,000 in Spyker of which approximately Euro 6,700,000 as subscription for such number of Class A shares in Spyker as will constitute 29.9% of the issued and outstanding share capital of Spyker on a fully diluted basis for a price of Euro 0.05 per share, and the remaining approximately Euro 3,300,000 shall be provided to Spyker in the form of a shareholder loan. Youngman undertakes to not exceed the 29.9 percent threshold and therefore has no ambition to make a mandatory offer on all outstanding shares in Spyker.

* Youngman shall pay the first tranche of the share subscription in an amount of Euro 2,300,000 to Spyker within 7 days as of today.

* Youngman shall pay the remaining Euro 7,700,000 no later than 45 days after the execution of the definitive transaction documentation.

* Youngman and Spyker will jointly invest in a Joint Venture to be called Spyker P2P B.V. ("Spyker P2P") in which Youngman will make a cash contribution in the amount of Euro 25,000,000 and will hold 75% of the shares whilst Spyker will make its contribution by transferring the technology it developed for the Spyker D8 Peking-to-Paris, a $ 250,000 four door Super Sports Utility Vehicle ("SSUV") ,as well as the Spyker trademarks and will hold 25% of Spyker P2P's shares. Youngman's contribution shall be paid in installments in accordance with the development and manufacturing plan of the SSUV with the objective of launching that car by the end of 2014. Additional models on the SSUV technology are being contemplated.

* Youngman and Spyker will jointly incorporate a second Joint Venture to be called Spyker Phoenix B.V.("Spyker Phoenix") in which Youngman will contribute the rights to the Phoenix platform as developed by Saab Automobile AB in 2010/2011 to which Youngman acquired a license in 2011 as well as provide all required funding. Youngman will hold 80% of Spyker Phoenix' shares whilst Spyker will hold 20% of Spyker Phoenix' shares which shareholding will be exempt from dilution.
Spyker Phoenix shall develop and manufacture a new full range of premium car models based on the Phoenix platform which models will be positioned higher than the comparable Saab models were. Spyker Phoenix products may be manufactured in Europe and China as the case may be.
Youngman and Spyker agree to provide all the (manufacturing) technologies owned by each of them to Spyker Phoenix for its use free of charge.

Victor R. Muller, Spyker's CEO said:" Since the regretful demise of Saab Automobile AB in December 2011,we have been investigating the possibilities to continue our intended cooperation with Youngman to the benefit of both companies thereby utilizing the assets, both tangible as well as intangible, each of us has at its disposal. With this Framework Agreement, Youngman and Spyker lay the foundation for an intense cooperation whereby we will pursue the objectives we each had in mind when we were forging our cooperation as partners in Saab Automobile AB. We clearly share the vision on how to shape Spyker's future as partners going forward ."

Pang Qingnian, Youngman's CEO said:" We have felt all along that a cooperation with Spyker had to be pursued, even after we both unjustifiedly lost the opportunity to restructure Saab Automobile AB as a going concern and jointly develop its business, however, we secured Saab Automobile's technology. With this Agreement, many of our original intentions with the "Saab" brand will still take shape and we are excited to help Spyker further develop its vehicle model range with the SSUV and vehicles based on Saab Automobile's Phoenix platform technology both in China as well as in the rest of the world."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Scania can not deny NEVS the use of Gripen

According to TTELA, which cites Svenska Dagbladet, truck developer and manufacturer Scania AB can not deny Saab Automobile the use of the Gripen (Griffin) emblem.

Svenska Dagbladet has spoken to Henrik Klackenberg from Sweden's National Archives. According Klackenberg, the Gripen emblem does not belong to Scania but has been in the possession of Malmö Municipality the last 500 years. As early as 1437, Malmö had a red griffin as a city emblem.

In other words, it is not up to Scania to decide whether Saab Automobile can use the Gripen, it is up to Malmö Municipality or possibly the county of Skåne.

"As long as it does not imply patent or trademark infringement, we have no objections. They can use it freely", said Helene Persson at Malmö Municipality.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

No more Gripen for Saab

As reported earlier, National Electric Vehcile Sweden, which is the buyer of Saab Automobile, has been negotiating with the security and defence company Saab AB and the truck manufacturer Scania AB in order to be allowed to use the SAAB brand name and the Gripen (Griffin) logo on future Saab cars. But now Scania has decided that NEVS and Saab Automobile will not be allowed to use the Gripen logo in the future.

"It is a very attractive emblem in China and we do not want anything disturbing our business there," said Hans-Åke Danielsson at Scania to TTELA.

Negotiations concerning the brand name SAAB is still ongoing with Saab AB and no decision has been reached yet.

"We look at it [the brand name] as an important asset with strong ties to us, but there is really no news in the matter. Talks are still ongoing," said Sebastian Carlsson at Saab AB.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Spyker Cars files lawsuit against General Motors

Spyker Cars, the previous parent company of Saab Automobile, today annouced that it has filed a lawsuit against General Motors. Spyker claims that GM took unlawful actions to push Saab into bankruptcy and thus avoid competition with Saab in the Chinese market. Here's the press release:


Zeewolde, the Netherlands, 6 August 2012 -- Spyker N.V. (Spyker) announced that it has filed a complaint against General Motors Company ("GM") in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan today at 08.00 AM EST. Spyker filed the complaint in its own right and on behalf of its 100 percent subsidiary Saab Automobile A.B., which was declared bankrupt on December 19, 2011.

This lawsuit seeks redress for the unlawful actions GM took to avoid competition with Saab Automobile in the Chinese market. GM's actions had the direct and intended objective of driving Saab Automobile into bankruptcy, a result of GM's tortiously interfering with a transaction between Saab Automobile, Spyker and Chinese investor Youngman that would have permitted Saab Automobile to restructure and remain a solvent, going concern. The monetary value of the claim amounts to US$ 3 billion (three billion US dollars).

Since Saab Automobile is in receivership and hence incapable to contribute to the costs of litigation, Spyker and Saab Automobile have entered into an agreement pursuant to which Spyker will bear the costs of such litigation in exchange for a very substantial share of Saab Automobile's award when the proceedings are successful. Spyker has secured the financial backing required to see the lawsuit through to the end from a third party investor.

Victor R. Muller, Spyker's Chief Executive Officer said: "Ever since we were forced to file for Saab Automobile's bankruptcy in December of last year, we have worked relentlessly on the preparation for this lawsuit which seeks to compensate Spyker and Saab for the massive damages we have incurred as a result of GM's unlawful actions.

We owe it to our stakeholders and ourselves that justice is done and we will pursue this lawsuit with the same tenacity and perseverance that we had when we tirelessly worked to save Saab Automobile, until GM destroyed those efforts and deliberately drove Saab Automobile into bankruptcy."

But this lawsuit, if successfull, will of course not bring the good old Saab back. It can only bring a nice profit (90 per cent of the award) to Spyker Cars and its shareholders.  If it wasn't all about money earlier, it certainly is now. But it would be nice to see GM get its ass kicked in court!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sonett summer is over

Hi everybody!

Let me first apologize for not writing here on the blog since 29 June. And thank you for the emails and messages you have sent me the past month. I guess what happened in June was that I lost the energy and the spirit I need to write a Saab blog. When National Electric Vehicle Sweden bought Saab, the air went out of the balloon so to speak. That does not mean that I have no faith in NEVS or that you should not have faith in NEVS. Let's give them a chance.

So what have I done this summer? Well, I have been relaxing, reading, fishing, kayak paddling, mountain biking, and of course driving the Sonett. I have to say that the Sonett is a true driver's car. My Saab 9-5 is extremely comfortable and pleasant to drive. The Sonett is fun, fun, fun! The steering is very precise (shocking precise given that it is a 44 year old car), the engine revs beautifully, the free wheel driving is exciting and you just enjoy cruising, accelerating, steering through bends and of course the look on people's faces when you pass by. So my love for Saab is not gone. 

What will happen to Life with Saab? At the moment I don't know. I guess now that my summer vacation is over I will start following Saab again and write on the blog, maybe. Or maybe not. I will just have to give it a few days, maybe a week or two and see if the energy and the spirit is still there.

Anyway, I hope you too have had a good summer and don't worry, not much has happened in the Saab world the past month or two. NEVS is still the buyer of Saab, allthough the deal has not been completely finalized yet.