GM confirms Saab sale

US automotive giant General Motors has confirmed that it has signed a stock purchase agreement with the Koenigsegg Group regarding the sale of Saab Automobile to the Swedish-led consortium.

GM confirms Saab sale
Saab 93B, MY1959

GM said it expected the deal to conclude in the next few months.

“The closure of the deal is contingent on the funding commitment from the European Investment Bank (EIB), guaranteed by the Swedish government,” said Carl-Peter Forster, president of GM Europe, in a statement.

As part of the proposed transaction, GM and Saab will continue to share technology and services during a defined time period. This will be managed through licenses and service agreements.

The deal was confirmed by the Koenigsegg Group who announced that they expected an agreement within the month.

“We have now concluded another important step in realizing the great potential of Saab,” said Christian von Koenigsegg, CEO of Koenigsegg Group.

Saab Automobile welcomed the news in a press release on Tuesday morning.

“This is excellent news for everyone connected to Saab around the globe. This is an important step to secure jobs and our long-term future as a Swedish carmaker,” said Jan Åke Jonsson, Managing Director of Saab.

Jonsson promised that the manufacture of the new Saab 9-3X would commence already in August.

“Our plan is to transform Saab into a stand-alone vibrant entrepreneurial company and make it ‘sustainable’ by making it profitable,” Christian von Koenigsegg confirmed.

Jöran Hägglund, under-secretary of state at the ministry of enterprise, was satisfied that Saab’s ownership issue had been cleared up.

“But there remains several steps before it is finalized. Koenigsegg Group has to come up with additional private capital, renegotiate loans with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and reach agreement with the National Debt Office over the conditions of any state guarantees. For all this the approval of the European Commission is also required.”

Saab Automobile’s reconstruction began in February when the firm’s owners General Motors announced that it would cut off support to Saab by the end of the year.

According to a ruling in Vänersborg district court the process should be completed on Thursday.

If the deal between GM and the Koenigsegg Group were not to be completed by then the companies are entitled to apply for an extension.

The stock purchase agreement that has now been signed could mean that Saab Automobile can come out of reconstruction which has meant relief on 75 percent of its debt.

But much of the outstanding finance remains an issue to be solved. Saab’s application for loans from the EIB require significant state loan guarantees and negotiations with the National Debt Office are on going. The government must give its blessing to the business plan.

The board of the EIB is scheduled to deal with Saab’s application on September 22nd.

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Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court

Swedish car maker Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson and the firm's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have appeared in court in Vänersborg in west Sweden, accused of falsifying financial documents shortly before the company went bankrupt in 2011.

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court
Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. Photo: Karin Olander/TT
The pair are accused of falsifying the paperwork at the height of the Swedish company's financial difficulties at the start of the decade.
A third person – who has not been named in the Swedish media – is accused of assisting them by issuing false invoices adding up to a total of 30 million kronor ($3.55m).
According to court documents, the charges relate to the firm's business in Ukraine and the paperwork in question was signed just before former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson resigned.
Both Jonsson and Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have admitted signing the papers but denied knowledge of the Ukranian firm implicated in the case.
All three suspects deny all the charges against them.

Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers. Photo:  Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
Saab filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2011, after teetering on the edge of collapse for nearly two years.
Chief prosecutor Olof Sahlgren told the court in Vänersborg on Wednesday that the alleged crimes took place in March 2011, when Saab was briefly owned by the Dutch company Spyker Cars.
It was eventually bought by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), a Chinese-owned company after hundreds of staff lost their jobs.
The car maker, which is based in west Sweden, has struggled to resolve serious financial difficulties by attracting new investors since the takeover.
In October 2014 it announced it had axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce.
Since 2000, Saab automobile has had no connection with the defence and aeronautics firm with the same name. It only produces one model today, the electric 9-3 Aero Sedan, mainly targeting the Chinese market.