After months of ups and downs, rumours and speculation and failed take over bids, it seems SAAB is finally saved, and this time it’s for real, following what’s been referred to as a “binding agreement”.
Spyker, the Dutch sports car manufacturer has agreed to pay General Motors $74 million dollars to take over the ailing Swedish car maker, securing the future of the brand and the jobs of around 5,400 factory workers in Sweden and the employees of Saab Great Britain.
February 15th should see the date the deal is completed, but Saab have already stopped its “wind down” process it began at the beginning of the year.
The Swedish Government have guaranteed a EUR 400 million loan between Saab and the European Investment Bank and as part of the take over, and Spyker, will change its name to ‘Saab Spyker Automobiles’. The European Commission has to approve the Swedish loan, but that’s thought just to be a formality.
General Motors are however hanging on to a bit of Saab, by retaining what’s referred to as ‘preference shares’ and these have a value of $326 million, however these represent less than 1% of the voting rights capital of Saab.
Spyker say that it has bought Saab as a going concern and that means all IP rights, trademarks, and infrastructure. They say the sale in December 2009 of the pre-2003 Saab 9-3 and 9-5 technology to Chinese car maker BAIC, does not devalue the business and in fact, production of the new generation Saab 9-5 has already started in the factory at Trollhattan in Sweden.
News of the sale, will be welcomed by Saab dealers, suppliers and customers the world over, and as well as of course, everyone who works for Saab. It must have been a really difficult time and continuing to believe that Saab had a future, or deserved a future, must at some points have seemed foolhardy. However, it seems, they’ve got through it and with that will come new beliefs, new confidence and some nice new product.
So its good luck to Saab and thanks to GM and Spyker for beginning a new chapter in the history of this iconic brand.