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Saab announces new Chinese partnership

Swedish car maker Saab has signed a new framework agreement with China's Pang Da Automobile, the firm's Dutch owner Spyker said on Monday.

Saab announces new Chinese partnership

“The memorandum of understanding includes a strategic alliance consisting of a 50-50 distribution joint venture,” Spyker said in a statement.

The deal also covers “a manufacturing joint venture (MJV) for Saab branded vehicles as well as for an MJV-owned brand (the so-called ‘child brand’) in China,” the statement said.

Pang Da will initially transfer €30 million ($42 million) to purchase Saab cars and another €15 million to purchase more vehicles within 30 days of the initial purchase.

The Chinese company will “take an equity participation in Spyker for a total amount of €65 million at €4.19 per share representing up to 24 percent of Spyker’s outstanding share capital on a fully diluted basis.

“Both parties are confident that this partnership allows Saab Automobile and Pang Da to create a strong business, initially in the distribution and subsequently in the manufacturing of Saab vehicles in China,” Spyker head Victor Muller said.

Spyker described Pang Da as “China’s largest publicly traded automobile distributor with over 1,100 dealerships nationwide”.

“Having just gone public ourselves three weeks ago, we are delighted to have the opportunity to become a substantial shareholder in Spyker, Saab’s parent,” Pang Da chief executive Pang Qinghua said.

“We very much look forward to collaborating with Saab’s management to successfully enter our promising home market,” he added

Monday’s announcement comes less than a week after Spyker said a deal with Chinese carmaker Hawtai had fallen through.

The cash-strapped carmaker, which halted production “until further notice” last month as suppliers stopped deliveries over unpaid bills, had said it was looking into partnerships with other Chinese companies.

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CARS

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.