So Saab really has been sold? Well if the latest press release is to be believed, the answer is yes and we have reprinted the official statement at the end of this article so that you can read exactly what they say.
It’s been soap opera, a bit like Eastenders but without the shouting as the ailing Swedish car maker Saab has flirted from suitor to suitor over the last 30 months or so since it first filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2009, however some lovers didn’t last long and other relationships turned out to be no more than a one night stand.
For a while back in July 2009 it seemed Saab had found its perfect lover in Swedish Sports car maker Koenigsegg and even signed a memorandum of understanding with them, but you know how people drift apart and that’s exactly what happened and the relationship never got off the ground leaving Saab alone again and still in trouble.
In February 2010, well, it was a match made in heaven as sexy Dutch sports car maker Spyker turned Saab’s eye and a new relationship began, with the Dutch company paying out $74 million dollars to General Motors, securing Saabs good name and more importantly, securing the future of the Saab brand and the jobs of around 5,400 workers in Sweden along with the employees of Saab Great Britain.
So all was well? Seems not as financial pressures mounted again and in April 2011, the Saab factory in Trollhättan in Sweden stopped making cars as suppliers worried that Saab wouldn’t be able to pay their bills. Just a month or so later however, a deal that would involve the Chinese owned Hawtai Motor Group taking a 29% share of Spyker cars in return for a £110 million pound investment cheered everyone up and in May 2011 Saab began making cars again. The deal however floundered as the bailout never came and Hawtai went its own way.
Flighty thing that she is just weeks later, Saab ‘on the rebound’ quickly got into bed with two Chinese investors and a rescue plan was offered by Zhejiang Youngman and Pang Da, each of which had agreed to take a combined 53.9% stake in Swedish Auto for a total of 245 million euros ($340 million).
September saw Saab back in court in Sweden announcing it was again filing for “Voluntary Reorganisation” which to you and me is bankruptcy protection and that would prevent the balif’s nicking the plasma TV and would give Saab a breathing space and a chance to work on establishing its new relationship.
As for this entire affair, nothing seems to run smoothly and late on Sunday night 23rd October Swedish Auto (Saab) said that it was cancelling the provisional pact signed in June and had rejected an alternative offer from the Chinese for an outright buyout.
Its often the case that couples cant agree, but on this occasion, the lack of fresh investment was likely to see the court appointed administrator lift the protection from bankruptcy which would possibly see Saab actually go bankrupt this week (28th October) resulting in the furniture and the CD’s shared between the creditors marking the end for this 60 year old brand.
However, what’s this? The cavalry have marched over the hill and it seems a deal has been done as the lovers have kissed and made up its now been officially announced that a final agreement has been reached between Pang Da and Youngman for the sale of 100% of the shares of Saab Automobile AB and Saab Great Britain in return for EUR 100 million.
From the outside, it looks as if the Chinese buyers have pushed Saab to the wire to get the absolutely best deal they could and as we all know, when are backs against the wall, sometimes we take the best deal we can get. There is no doubt that across Europe, the reputation of Saab has been immeasurably damaged by the last few years of struggle and I suppose because of that, its value has been badly affected. The main thing however is that it’s survived.
SWEDISH AUTOMOBILE SIGNS MOU WITH PANG DA AND YOUNGMAN FOR THE SALE OF SAAB AUTOMOBILE AND SAAB GB
Zeewolde, The Netherlands, 28 October 2011 – Swedish Automobile N.V. (Swan) announces that it entered into a memorandum of understanding with Pang Da and Youngman for the sale and purchase of 100% of the shares of Saab Automobile AB (Saab Automobile) and Saab Great Britain Ltd. (Saab GB) for a consideration of EUR 100 million.
Final agreement between the parties is subject to a definitive share purchase agreement between Swan, Pang Da and Youngman, which will contain certain conditions including the approval of the relevant authorities, Swan’s shareholders and certain other parties. The consideration of EUR 100 million will be paid in instalments. An important consideration for Swan to enter into the transaction is the commitment of Pang Da and Youngman to provide long term funding to Saab Automobile.
The administrator in Saab Automobile’s voluntary reorganisation, Mr. Guy Lofalk, has withdrawn his application to exit reorganisation. The MOU is valid until November 15 of this year, provided Saab Automobile stays in reorganisation.