Saab CEO rebuffed Chinese purchase bid

Funding to save Swedish carmaker Saab from bankruptcy has fallen through as Chinese investors would now rather take the company over, the Saab administrator said Friday, asking a court to halt the reorganisation process.

Saab CEO rebuffed Chinese purchase bid

“The Chinese parties no longer wish to cooperate with Saab Automobile’s (Dutch) parent company Swedish Automobile. (They) instead want to invest directly in Saab Automobile and thereby take over all ownership in Saab,” said the carmaker’s court-appointed administrator Guy Lofalk.

Swedish Automobile (SWAN) confirmed in a statement Friday that its Chinese partners Pang Da and Youngman, which had agreed to inject €245 million ($335 million) into Saab in exchange for about half the carmaker, had now offered to buy the whole company.

“SWAN declined the offer,” it said in a statement, adding it had “requested confirmation from Pang Da and Youngman that they are able and willing to consummate the (signed) agreements… That confirmation has not been received to date.”

In a filing Friday to the Vänersborg district court in southwestern Sweden, Lofalk meanwhile said he did not think Saab would get the needed funds and he therefore no longer thought the company’s three-month reorganisation under bankruptcy protection would be successful.

“It is my duty as administrator to apply for the reorganisation to cease,” he wrote.

If the court grants his petition, thousands of individual requests from employees and suppliers for Saab to be declared bankrupt, which have been put on ice during the reorganisation, will be reactivated.

The company’s charismatic chief executive Victor Muller had convinced a Swedish appeals court last month it would be possible for Saab to land on its feet if it could just keep its creditors at bay until the cash from Pang Da and Youngman came through.

The company, which at the time said it had about 150 million euros in outstanding debt, said it expected that cash injection in November and that in the meantime it would get a 70-million-euro bridge loan from the two Chinese companies to help keep it afloat.

Lofalk pointed out that the bridge financing had not come through, significantly delaying the restructuring work.

During two trips to China, he said he had understood that SWAN and the two Chinese investors did not see eye-to-eye on where the deal was headed.

“There is no time to find other solutions due to (Saab’s) financial situation. (It) is not in the current situation in a position suitable for continued reorganisation,” he said.

Late Thursday Muller told Swedish local radio station P4 Väst he was “disappointed” with Lofalk, who he accused of secretly meeting with Youngman and Pang Da and pursuing his own agenda aimed at pushing Saab into new


SWAN said it had been given until October 27 to respond to Lofalk’s request, saying it would contest it and demand a new administrator.

The court has informed the company that it will rule on the issue on October 28, SWAN said.

The company meanwhile insisted the new developments did not alter its announcement Thursday that it had secured funding from US private equity firm North Street Capital, which is set to buy $10 million in shares and provide a loan of $60 million by the middle of next week.

SWAN however said that due to the new developments, it would delay reporting its third quarter results by nearly a month to November 30, instead of October 28 as previously planned.

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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.