Spyker has set the goal of turning a profit with its newly-purchased Saab division by 2012, reports Automotive News [sub]. That effort will be led by a total of three Saab products: the existing 9-3 (with a new version rumored for 2011), the forthcoming 9-5 sedan and, later next year, the GM-built Saab 9-4X Crossover. Other models, including a 9-1 compact are being hinted at, but Spyker acknowledges that such a product would require about a billion dollars more than Saab-Spyker currently has access to. Meanwhile, those three vehicles will have to generate 100k-125k annual sales in order to keep the business plan rolling along. Saab-Spyker honcho Victor Muller has an almost shockingly confident take on this possibility, telling Reuters:
It’s all about the restoration of the confidence in the company. Customers have been very reluctant to buy because of the uncertainty surrounding the brand… Saab has to do nothing but regain its existing and old customers because that in itself would be in enough to create a very strong business model..
Saab sold a total of 8,680 vehicles in the US over the course of 2009. Globally, the firm sold 39,903 units last year, down from 94,751 in 2008. Perhaps the challenge is a bit more difficult than Muller lets on.
Muller says Spyker-Saab (the name change will become official on the 12th of this month) requires “peak funding” of about one billion dollars to complete its turnaround. $326m of that funding comes as development aid from GM, which will receive that amount in redeemable preference shares in Saab. $400m is set to come from a European Investment Bank loan that, while guaranteed by the Swedish government, could still be rejected (for good reasons) by EU regulators. But the financial troubles don’t end there.
Apparently $50m of $74m cash portion of the deal has been funded on a 50-50 basis by a loan from an investment vehicle of Muller’s, and shares predominantly issued to GEM Global Yield Fund Ltd for which it has received a €150m credit facility. Another $24m is due on July 15, but has yet to be funded. According to the company, “Spyker has been approached by various investors to fund this instalment. Spyker intends to finance this amount primarily through senior debt.” Saab-Spyker assets have been pledged to GM as security for this as yet unfunded final payment.
It’s not immediately clear when or how Muller intends his investment vehicle’s $25m investment to be repaid, and indeed this new investment vehicle is also raising concerns among investors. Spyker was required to buy out mobbed-up Russian plutorcrat Alexander Antonov before GM approved the deal, and this new investment vehicle was the way to get it done. But, Muller refuses to reveal who exactly is behind the fund, telling Reuters that a confidentiality agreement prevents such disclosure. This is being seen within Holland [via nrc.nl]as yet more evidence of Muller’s infatuation with risky, creative financing.
Under Dutch law, Muller’s ownership of over 30 percent of the new combined firm would require him to make a public offer within 30 days of the deal closing. Per Reuters:
although he did not indicate he would make a public offer for the company, Muller said his options include selling shares in the market, selling shares to an investor, or making a public offer for the company.
But he added any public offer would be made against the average price of Spyker shares over the past year and that investors would be unlikely to offer their shares at that price given that the offer price would be below the current market price.
Spyker shares, which debuted at €15.50 per share in 2004, had risen to about €6.8 last week, and have since fallen to about €3.5.