Reinfeldt ‘concerned’ over Saab deal collapse

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said Thursday he was worried about the failure of Chinese rescue funding for the Saab-Spyker auto group but stressed the state would not step in to rescue the cash-strapped brand.

Reinfeldt 'concerned' over Saab deal collapse

“It naturally raises concern that the partners couldn’t get all the way to a definitive agreement,” Reinfeldt told reporters in the western city of Gothenburg, near Saab’s factory in Trollhättan.

“It is the owners and the management of Saab that must take this forward and find long-term financing. We in the government have done all we could to facilitate the process,” he said.

The Swedish government has repeatedly said it would not offer financial assistance to Saab.

The beleaguered carmaker was bought in January 2010 by Dutch firm Spyker after not turning a profit during 20 years under General Motors.

Its cash difficulties became evident in April when the Saab plant came to a halt “until further notice” because suppliers had halted deliveries over unpaid bills.

Saab’s rescue appeared to be near certain when earlier this month, Spyker announced China’s Hawtai would inject €150 million ($212.5 million) of urgently needed cash into Saab in exchange for a stake in Spyker.

But on Thursday Spyker said the deal was off “with immediate effect” because Hawtai Motor Group had been unable to obtain the green lights it needed.

“I fully understand that the workers at Saab are worried about their jobs and of course I hope for a positive resolution,” Reinfeldt said.

Swedish Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson meanwhile said she was also concerned for staff and Saab’s suppliers, many of whom were forced to lay off employees when Saab’s assembly line came to a halt.

“I hope Victor Muller will succeed in his ambitions to find a new partner,” she said.

“Saab needs capital to get production going and pay its suppliers … a strong partner with plenty of capital and commitment is required,” she said.

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Sweden’s Volvo Cars may merge with Chinese owner Geely

Sweden's Volvo Cars and its Chinese owner Geely announced on Monday that they are considering merging into a single group in order to share resources, but would preserve their separate brands.

Sweden's Volvo Cars may merge with Chinese owner Geely
File photo of a Volvo test-drive. Photo: Christine Olsson / TT

The merged firm “would have the scale, knowledge and resources to be a leader in the ongoing transformation of the automotive industry,” they said in a statement.

“The combination would preserve the distinct identity of each of the brands Volvo, Geely, Lynk & Co and Polestar,” they added.

Geely bought Volvo in 2010 from Ford which hadn't been able to turn around the Swedish automaker. But under the Chinese firm Volvo has rebounded and smashed its sales records.

Volvo sold more than 705,000 vehicles in 2019, besting the record it set in 2018 by 10 percent, and the automaker expects continued growth this year.

The statement said the firms would create a joint working group to prepare a proposal for the boards of both firms.

“A combined company would have access to the global capital market through Hong Kong and with the intention to subsequently list in Stockholm as well,” it added.

Volvo put off a share listing in 2018 due to tensions in global markets.