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Sky darkens over Spyker-Saab funding

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 2 Feb 2010, 10:22

Published: 02 Feb 2010 10:22 GMT+01:00

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According to the terms of the deal, Dutch sports car firm Spyker will hand over 540 million kronor ($74 million) in cash to GM to complete the deal. The first $50 million is due immediately and the outstanding amount is due to be handed over on July 15th 2010.

It is this second instalment that is the subject of intense speculation and Victor Muller told the newspaper that he is reluctant to reveal the identities of the investors he claims are interested in the deal, on a point of principle.

"They want to be anonymous for the reason that they do not want to be public people," Muller told the newspaper.

A company press release issued on Monday detailing the financing behind the purchase of the Swedish car maker does little to shed light on the deal:

"Spyker has been approached by various investors to fund this instalment. Spyker intends to finance this amount primarily through senior debt (senior to the debt owed to Tenaci), but does not rule out other alternatives."

The Local reported on Saturday that a Swedish government investigation into the dealings of the Russian Antonov family, who retain an interest in the form of outstanding loans and ordinary shares in Spyker, had caused the FBI to order GM to pull out of the deal in December.

Muller was unable to confirm to SvD the nature of the Antonovs' existing involvement in Spyker or the Saab deal.

"I do not want to go into this on principal. I am reluctant to talk about them," Muller said, adding that the Antonovs' alleged links to organized crime were "just rumours, there is no proof that it is true."

In Spyker's Monday press release, Muller explains that Vladimir Antonov's current shareholding of 4.6 million ordinary shares in Spyker has been bought by Tenaci - a holding firm directly owned by Victor Muller, "subject to closing of the Saab acquisition."

Furthermore, according to the newspaper, Spyker is groaning under a mountain of debt to the Antonov group and their bankers, much of it resembling text message loans with crippling interest rates in excess of 10 percent, several of which have already fallen due.

This debt, amounting to 580 million kronor, will remain on Spyker's books even after the completion of the Saab purchase, and of Antonov's share holding, but will simply be written over to Victor Muller - at the same high rates of interest, SvD writes.

Story continues below…

All of these transactions are to be funded by loans secured by Victor Muller and/or companies controlled directly by him.

"We have a lot of alternatives to see where we can secure the money, we have six months to sort it out," Muller told SvD.

"Spyker finances its own deals and Saab shall finance its own deals. So no money will be transferred from the one to the other," Muller claimed in response to a question as to whether Saab's purported 1 billion kronor cash reserves will in some way be drawn into the financing of the takeover.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:37 February 2, 2010 by Eagle63
Why are there so many people that just WANT this deal to fail ???

(must be BMW, Mercedes or Audi drivers...)
13:40 February 2, 2010 by sweco1
Yes I thinkit is the Mafia backing this Spyker deal to buy SAAB.

But it is the premier Mafia numero uno Δ giving a little cash.

So what is the largest bank in Serbia?

They collapsed this current economy in the first place via Bush!

You really don't want to make a deal with the devil it will come back to burn you!
13:51 February 2, 2010 by Hauhr
This is starting to sound like the Pirate Bay and the magic funds that don't exist to complete the purchase
14:56 February 2, 2010 by Twiceshy
What a joke... Let's review the facts here:

1- The only company interested in buying Saab can't even get the whole funding for it, even after kicking out a shady character from its shareholder base.

2- The purchase would rely on a loan guarantee from the Swedish government (i.e. taxpayers), which stands to lose 4 billion kronor if Saab fails.

Number 2 alone made me very doubtful that this deal was a good idea, and now number 1 comes along.
18:00 February 2, 2010 by spy

Your facts are not facts they are your ill-informed, skewed opinion based on a few sensationalist reports by shoddy media. To address them individually:

1) 'The only company interested in buying Saab can't even get the whole funding for it, even after kicking out a shady character from its shareholder base.' -----

There were many companies interested in Saab and many would have liked the chance to pay more for Saab in order to win it. Spyker has the money to complete this transaction and will do this month.

2) 'The purchase would rely on a loan guarantee from the Swedish government (i.e. taxpayers), which stands to lose 4 billion kronor if Saab fails.' ------- This is the argument usually trotted out by the stupid folk - in reality if Saab fails the Swedish government have already confirmed that the guarantee is more than covered by Saab's assets so there is absolutely no negative impact to the Swedish taxpayer - infact it will have a positive impact.
18:17 February 2, 2010 by 2394040
Thus far, the deal has had more ups and downs than any business deal should have. Maybe someday the truth about the SAAB deal will be known. At this point in time, this has all the ingredients of a very bad joke.
19:10 February 2, 2010 by spy

You are an expert in saying nothing.
20:04 February 2, 2010 by reason
If they don't want to reveal the details of their funding, I don't want to guarantee their loans :(
20:25 February 2, 2010 by spy

I don't think they need you to guarantee the EIB loan - the Swedish government already has.

But to tackle your point Spyker has already revealed its shareholders. . . How these shareholders have funded the purchases of their shares is their business. Also a large percentage are free flowing shares, as the company is public and 'listed' on an exchange, so to reveal the funding arrangements of all the owners is a ridiculous proposition.
20:46 February 2, 2010 by reason
Oh yes, the government makes the promises, but it's the tax payers (thus me) who will have to pay. Roughly 1000 kr per working swede (or a bit over a million per SAAB employee in Sweden).

In a country as strong in innovation (and weak in private capital) as Sweden, I somehow doubt there are not better ways to create jobs with that money.

Does anybody actually think that Spyker will make SAAB profitable? (and not just a profitable deal for the Spyker shareholders)
21:04 February 2, 2010 by spy

You really have no idea, let me try and explain:

The Government has actually agreed to gurantee a bank loan - they have NOT agreed to provide the loan itself. And before they agreed to guarantee it they valued Saab's assets at the lowest possible market rate. These assets were valued at worst case scenario (eg. the factory was valued just as a peice of land not a going concern). It has been agreed by all (including the National Debt Office) that Saab's assets far exceeded 400 million Euros and so if they defaulted on the loan the sale of these assets would more than cover it. Therefore NO taxpayers money is either risked or spent. . . And if you still dosn't understand this simple explanation then I suggest that you go and ask an adult to explain it to you.
21:22 February 2, 2010 by AlbionKyle
They are going to make it 'niche' brand, so that means what? Firing more workers they no longer needs since now they have to just make 4 types of cars? See government bail out doesn't work well, see the example led by America, they were disasters!

Back to you.
21:22 February 2, 2010 by Twiceshy

So you're saying that this story is completely false?

I think a source is in order for both of your claims (the one about this story and the one about the guarantee)...
21:37 February 2, 2010 by DaisyCutter

Well it is Spyker's job to ensure your stingy little pockets are not violated. But I am sure they have far more significant incentives to succeed than your lint catchers.

GM on the other hand would be instigating a pocket lightening far sooner had it decided not to sell. Did you think the Saab employees were simply going to live on fairy dust and token payouts when they shuttered not only the brand, but impacted upon much of the dependant local business?

I would have thought it takes more than 1000SEK to blind a tax payer. How's' your Swedish bank doing these days...?
00:28 February 3, 2010 by Nimos

If Saab's assets far exceed its required loan, why is Swedish government needed as a guarantor?
06:28 February 3, 2010 by Buccaneer
It is a pity that Saab has found itself in such a situation. That is what happens when you are not innovative in a very competitive market like the auto sector.

However, I do not think that non-ethnic swedes would be worried about the jobs that would be lost because they never get employed in these companies on the ground of being foreign.

GM is giving the swedes a taste of their own medicine. I would advise these soon to be un-employed to be innovative in creating a job for themselves.
11:06 February 3, 2010 by Twiceshy
@Nimos: Good question.

Another one... did they evaluate Saab's assets before or after some of them got sold to BAIC the Chinese company?
14:21 February 3, 2010 by spy
Twiceshy, Nimos

It is rather boring having to educate the blindingly thick, but to answer your questions:

'If Saab's assets far exceed its required loan, why is Swedish government needed as a guarantor?' ---- The Swedish Government is needed to provide a guarantee because that is what the EIB require. And the Swedish government and the National debt office (and just about everyone else) have agreed that Saab's assets far exceed 400million Euros.

'Another one... did they evaluate Saab's assets before or after some of them got sold to BAIC the Chinese company?' ------- What do you think dummy? Do you think that the National Debt office didn't take this into consideration????

Saab did sell some old tooling (for early generation model 9-5) at the end of last year to BAIC for a bout 200million and there are plenty more production lines that could be sold in the event that the guarantee has to be called in - so you do the maths and see whether they could raise 400million.
17:15 February 3, 2010 by Mr B
Why are so many people against this deal? How much would it cost the Swedish Government if Saab folded?About 8000 unemployed people would cost a lot of money.Im sure with the right management at the helm Saab would prosper,give it a chance,don't make the same mistakes as the British Government and allow all your home grown manufacturing to dissapear.'Spy',I think you are absolutely correct but some of the simpletons on this site just don't get it.
17:38 February 3, 2010 by spy
Mr B

Simpletons are like old fashioned typwriters - unsophisticated and you really need to punch the information in. But anyway Saab been saved and we will see all the peices of the jigsaw fall into place over the coming 10 days or so. Well done Saab and Spyker.

The next problem is that journalists in Sweden have not had to look too far for a story and Saab has been a big part of the news recently. They may now actually need to get off their arses and fill the bad news void. . . . Perhaps we will see 'Volvo and the 'dog-eaters' stories next.
18:59 February 3, 2010 by repat_xpat
I think it would be nice if the personal attacks were replaced by data (supported by links). Its hard to accept an "education" from one who is brow beating you, especially when no supporting data is provided. The unkind tone doesn't seem very Swedish, or is it?
19:07 February 3, 2010 by spy

Just when we were talking about simpletons you turn up. . . . Spooky.
14:54 February 4, 2010 by harrylatour
Nice to someone other than me warning you Swedes about losing your tech/manufacturing base (like us Brits) You see,the bottom line in finance is not always the bottom line for long term profit and viability,'cos as you all know it was those supposed brilliant 'money men' who got us all into this stuff in the first place.And how did they do it???? well chasing big and quick early profits when really it was not there in the short term!! The best way for any stability in these troubled times is to make a commitment to the long term model and it will work just fine,provided no greedy ''money men' do not want to take their kilo of flesh from a half kilo joint!! Harry
16:49 February 4, 2010 by sandrofromitaly
Really I did not think that such a matter like the SAAB affaire could generate a similar quantity of comments, it's very interesting to read all of them following he answers each other, please keep on this way !
12:26 February 5, 2010 by Mr B
I totaly agree with you 'harrylatour',the errosion of our manufacturing base has seriously damaged the UK's long term financial stability.Most of our manufacturing is owned by non British company's and so the profits leave the country,the only benefit is jobs (ok for the employees but not the country in the long term).Germany seem to have got this right,holding on to their manufacturing and only second to China in exporting goods (1.18trillion dollars).Sweden should look at the UK's demise and use this as a warning.The many billionares of the UK have a moral resposibility to invest in their home country but choose the quick buck and invest else were,selfish for sure,patriotic,not one bit.They like to call themselves British but do nothing to help their fellow countrymen.
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