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As the Saab bankruptcy saga starts to come to a silent end, or so we hope, the deadline for companies to place their final bids for the Swedish carmaker has been set for April 10th.
Currently, the only company that has publicly registered its interest is Chinese automaker Youngman that has been in the picture since the bankruptcy began. Youngman’s original buyout was essentially broken up by General Motors, which still controls key Saab technology today.
Other companies rumored to be interested include Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra and an unnamed Japanese and Chinese consortium interested in producing electric vehicles through the Saab name.
Alas, it seems unlikely that assets raised will cover Saab’s current debt which is estimated to be about $1.8- to $1.97-billion. In fact, the attorneys handling Saab’s estate says any sale is unlikely to even cover “a portion” of the debt.
[Source: Automotive News]
Swedish automaker Saab is attracting more interest dead than alive. The officially bankrupt automaker is in the process of liquidating its assets and former rivals are lining up to buy a piece of the much-talked-about but little-bought maker of quirky cars.
Recent reports indicated that German automaker BMW was interested in purchasing Saab, but we now have confirmation of another bid. This latest offer comes from Saab’s Swedish rival Volvo, which is now owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holdings Group Co.
Other interested parties include China’s Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co., Turkish private investment firm Brightwell Holdings and Indian truck maker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.
Those in charge of liquidating Saab have commented that the ideal solution would be to sell off the company’s manufacturing facilities as a whole, keeping in mind the best interests of the creditors, employees and the city of Trollhattan. Sale to a tier one automaker like BMW would certainly fulfill those qualifications, although sale to an automaker like Volvo with a heritage and interest in Sweden could out-weigh that.
At their weekly press conference, the company touched on its pressing salary situation for its current employees and mentioned that it would take at least another week to sort things out; but the more interesting news is that the highest bidder may not get the deal, according to Saab. The Swedish automaker is looking for a company that will present the best option for the creditors, employees, and the region the most. Which essentially means that Saab will go to the company that has the money, knowledge, experience, and credibility to continue producing Saab vehicles.
It was confirmed that one of the six or seven bidders was a European automaker based out of Munich, which leads many to believe that it is BMW since the two firms once signed an engine purchasing agreement back in 2010. It would be mighty interesting if BMW is able to come out of this one to not only continue producing Saab vehicles, but using their platforms for their own models and even MINI ones.
[Source: Saabs United]
A Turkish private equity firm, Brightwell Holdings, has announced its interest in placing a bid on now bankrupt Swedish automaker, Saab. The firm, based out of Istanbul, invests in energy, transport and technology and wishes to buy all of Saab and wishes to keep production in Sweden.
“We will make a bid very shortly, there’s no question,” Zamier Ahmed, a board member of the group, said. The firm is currently in discussions with those overseeing Saab’s bankruptcy in addition to Saab CEO Victor Muller. Brightwell Holdings aren’t the only ones making bids, as China’s Youngman continues its pursuance of Saab with rumors that they’ll make an offer worth several billion Swedish crowns.
Brightwell’s offer is probably a couple of weeks out though as they continue to evaluate Saab’s assets, including its inventories, in order to determine what they’ll be willing to pay. For Saab to emerge from bankruptcy however, the offer will need GM’s approval along with the Swedish government and the European Investment Bank.
[Source: Automotive News Europe]
With court appointed administrators having taken over the remnants of Saab following the automaker’s bankruptcy, exactly what to do with the company’s assets is still very much an ongoing process.
Recently, Bloomberg reported that among the suitors interested in acquiring Saab assets, which so far have been Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. Ltd and the Turkish government, Mahindra & Mahindra, the giant Indian conglomerate, has now also stepped forward.
Reportedly, talks are underway between Mahindra & Mahindra and Saab’s administrators. So far, as to which Saab assets are up for grabs, little has been revealed with Mahindra & Mahindra in particular remaining very tight lipped on the matter.
In addition, the same sources have reportedly said that despite these discussions, talks between the administrators and the Turkish government remain ongoing as well since Turkey has expressed interest in launching it’s own domestic vehicle brand. At present, acquiring Saab assets in order to do so appears to be the most logical step for the Turkish Government.
Many dealerships are looking for ways to liquidate their inventory as all 188 US dealerships were also notified that all factory incentive programs and payments to dealers have been suspended. But as expected, the biggest hurdle for these dealerships to jump over is the fact that there’s no warranties offered with the sale of Saab vehicles.
Some dealerships are taking matters in their own hands by offering their own warranty out of the store’s pocket. The 36,000-mile/three-year General Motors Protection Plan warranty has an estimated cost of $2,000 to $2,500 per vehicle sold. Other dealerships are turning towards aftermarket warranties, but it’s still not a manufacturer’s warranty.
As of last week, there were about 2,400 Saab vehicles left in US inventory with the majority of dealerships focusing on liquidating their inventory as quickly as possible. Saab of Troy in Detroit has been the nation’s largest Saab dealership and had roughly $4-million in inventory last week.
[Source: Automotive News]
Saab’s financial rollercoaster seems to have come to what many have speculated would be its inevitable conclusion, with the Swedish automaker today announcing it has filed for bankruptcy with the District Court in Vänersborg, Sweden.
The news comes as Saab was seeking to reorganize, with the struggling car maker desperate to arrange funding. The most likely candidate had been Chinese automaker Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co., which has now announced it can not move forward based on opposition from General Motors. GM opposed the sale to a Chinese automaker as it owns the technology behind two of Saab’s models and even manufactures the 9-4X crossover for Saab.
Representatives at GM have previously said the American auto giant would look to block any sale based on intellectual property issues, with concerns such a sale could harm its business in China.
“After having received the recent position of GM on the contemplated transaction with Saab Automobile, Youngman informed Saab Automobile that the funding to continue and complete the reorganization of Saab Automobile could not be concluded. The Board of Saab Automobile subsequently decided that the company without further funding will be insolvent and that filing bankruptcy is in the best interests of its creditors,” reads a statement on the Saab website. Along with Saab Automobile, this filing includes Saab Automobile Tools AB and Saab Powertrain AB.
In yet another twist to the ongoing Saab soap opera, the Swedish automaker has received a payment from Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile as it struggles to stay solvent. The payment, which is some $5 million will be reportedly be used to cover outstanding tax expenses.
Following on from that, Youngman, which is looking to take a significant stake in Saab, apparently plans to pay out more money by the end of this week, (some 20 million euros/$26.4 million), in this case to cover unpaid salaries. A spokesman for Saab, Eric Geers, confirmed that while the first payment had been received, nothing else could be confirmed, except the fact that talks with Youngman are “ongoing.”
Saab has been struggling to stay afloat ever since it was purchased from General Motors by Spyker and it’s main assembly plant in Trolhattan, Sweden, is currently idled in the wake of unpaid bills. In recent months the firm, owned by Swedish Automobile has sought creditor protection as it looks to find suitable investors.
Youngman has repeatedly tried to buy into Saab, but the latest deal was vetoed by General Motors, which still owns licenses for Saab technology. In the meantime Saab, still under creditor protection is under increasing pressure by the administrator overseeing the process, to have it’s protection agreement terminated.
A distric court in western Sweden, has given the automaker and its creditors, until Thursday this week to submit their views regarding the matter. A final decision on Saab’s status is expected to be made on December 16th.
Saab‘s clock is ticking quickly to find a way out of bankruptcy with just a “very few days” left to find a loan. Unfortunately, General Motors has been playing a vital role in blocking Saab from selling any of the company to a Chinese automaker, forcing Saab to try to find a loan.
Since Saab can’t sell all or part of the company to any of its interested suitors, Saab has asked their Chinese partner Youngman for a generous $803 million loan. Saab is basically looking for a way to avoid having to get approval from General Motors, since they refuse to give it if it involves shares of the company.
But they better act quick as Saab’s creditor protection could be lifted as early as next week, forcing them into bankruptcy.
[Source: Left Lane News]