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Saab has been rescued from near-collapse yet again after an agreement was signed with China’s Hawtai Motor Group. The agreement will form a joint venture for manufacturing, distribution and technology between Saab owner Spyker and Hawtai. It will also provide $222 million in funding for Saab, ending the Swedish automaker’s halt in production caused by insufficient payment of supplier bills. The deal will see Hawtai take a maximum 29.9 percent take in Spyker.
This partnership will be beneficial to Saab which will enter the Chinese car market with a strong Chinese manufacturer. Victor Muller, Spyker CEO said, “We expect that Saab’s unique brand values based on its aviation heritage, Scandinavian origins and innovation-driven character will do very well in the Chinese market.” Muller also explained; “Saab is now well financed. It has secured its short and mid-term financing needs. That puts the credit crunch that the company went through in April to bed.”
Richard Zhang, vice president of Hawtai, said: “This is a great day for our relatively young company which was founded 10 years ago. The partnership with the iconic Saab brand will give us access to innovative technologies and an international network which would have taken us decades to build.”
On Monday, Spyker said it hopes to restart Saab production within a week after it secured almost $88.9 million in short-term funding. Spyker has also obtained a $44.4 million convertible loan from investment fund Gemini, one of Spyker’s shareholders. Furthermore, the owner of Gemini, a Lithuanian businessman will also make a draw down request to the European Investment Bank for $43.1 million.
Hawtai is looking to become a global leading automotive company by 2015 after raising capacity to 1 million vehicles, 1 million engines and 1 million automatic transmissions. Hawtai is the builder of private buses and SUVs. The Rongcheng based company was established in 2000 and since 2002, has built Santa Fe and Terracan SUVs under its own brand using technology licensed from Hyundai.