China’s BAIC in deal to buy parts of Saab: report

Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. (BAIC) of China has inked a preliminary deal for the acquisition of parts of Saab Automobile, according to media reports.

China's BAIC in deal to buy parts of Saab: report

A source tells the Wall Street Journal that BAIC will purchase the intellectual property for two sedan models – the Saab 9-3 and Saab 9-5 – and the equipment related to the production of the vehicles.

Reportedly signed at the weekend in Sweden, the deal also allows BAIC to integrate Saab technology into its own vehicles and will be partially financed by loans from state banks in China.

BAIC already has a 20 billion yuan ($2.93 billion) line of credit from Bank of China, the sourced told the Wall Street Journal.

The exact financial terms of the deal weren’t available, however.

GM spokesperson Michael Albano refused to comment directly on discussions between the US automaker and BAIC over the possible acquisition of Saab assets.

“We have discussions in process with many organizations about Saab,” GM Albano told the Wall Street Journal.

The source added that BAIC is continuing its weekend negotiations with Saab officials in Trollhättan in western Sweden and “exploring ways to reach further deals for cooperation”.

BAIC is China’s fifth largest carmaker and has previously indicated it’s not interested in purchasing Saab’s Trollhättan factory.

By selling Saab technology, GM is paving the way to close down Saab’s head offices and other parts of the Swedish automaker.

Last weekend it was revealed that GM, which is negotiating with several buyers, is prepared to have Saab split into several companies as the Riksdag has requested.

Throughout the autumn, a number of new companies have been registered, opening up the possibility that each one could be sold as a separate entity.

Saab spokesperson Eric Geers refused to confirm the Wall Street Journal report.

“That’s nothings that’s been confirmed, either from Saab or BAIC. I have no idea where it’s coming from,” he told the TT news agency on Sunday.

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US judge rejects Saab bankruptcy lawsuit

A US court has dismissed a $3 billion lawsuit by previous Saab owner Spyker alleging that US auto giant General Motors (GM) was responsible for causing the Swedish carmaker's bankruptcy.

US judge rejects Saab bankruptcy lawsuit

The Dutch sports car maker filed suit against GM in August 2012, claiming the US automaker interfered in a transaction that would have allowed Saab to restructure and stay afloat because GM wanted to dominate the Chinese market.

Saab, a former GM subsidiary, filed for bankruptcy in December 2011 after teetering on the edge of financial ruin for almost two years. A last-ditch bid to raise funds in China, with the group Youngman, was nixed by GM over technology transfer issues.

“GM’s actions had the direct and intended objective of driving Saab Automobile into bankruptcy, a result of GM’s tortiously interfering with a transaction… to restructure and remain a solvent growing concern,” Spyker said in the statement at the time.

GM filed a motion to have the lawsuit thrown out and on Monday a federal judge in Detroit agreed.

“General Motors had a contractual right to approve or disapprove the proposed transaction,” U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin Drain said in a hearing in Detroit, according to the Reuters news agency.

“The court is going to grant the motion to dismiss the matter.”

Spyker CEO Victor Muller refused to say whether or not he would appeal the ruling.

“We’ll consider an appeal as soon as soon as we have the written ruling,” Muller told the TT news agency via text message.

Muller has previously explained that the $3 billion figure associate with the lawsuit corresponds to what Saab would have been worth had GM not scuttled the deal with Youngman.

TT/The Local/dl

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