By on October 7, 2011

Where to start? Let’s start with the money. The $96 million promised by China’s Youngman and badly needed by Saab are not here. They haven’t left China either. Not just because China is on vacation. Youngman claims they have not received what they were promised, and until that happens, no money will be sent. “If the conditions are not met, we cannot pay,” Rachel Pang, president of Youngman, said in an email to Dagens Industri. Welcome to China. Now wait what the Swedes have up their sleeves.

The Swedish paper Sydsvenskan reaches Rachel Pang per phone. Ms. Pang says Saab hasn’t kept its end of the deal. “When they have transferred the technology into an escrow account, we will pay,” she says. The technology is the construction data for the PhoeniX platform. Hard to transfer that per bank wire, but who knows.  The paper asks about the NDRC. Ms. Pang says they had a good meeting. “They want to be ready soon.” How soon? Ms. Pang has no comment.

Saab needs the money in a hurry. The Swedish government is currently paying the salaries of Saab’s workers. But only until October 20.  Then Saab has to pay.  “What if Saab does not have the money to meet payroll?” Dagens Industri asks. “It will be the same as in June, July and August – we will start the process to secure our members’ money,” answers Martin Wästfelt, legal counsel of Unionen, one of the unions of Saab’s workers. It will go very quickly then. On October 31 is a creditors’ meeting. The Unions will be the main creditors.

So where is the money? Dagens Industri comes to the conclusion that there “is a knot in the deal between Youngman and Saab,” and we tend to agree.

Other people seem to agree also. Such as the Swedish government, and the reorganization administrator Guy Lofalk.  Guy Lofalk recently traveled to China and shopped Saab around. Apparently, he was not dispatched by Saab. He was dispatched by the Swedish government. There are two versions of this story.

The benign version is told by Dagens Industri. The paper writes that the Swedish government wants to take over the 230 million Euro loan from the European Investment bank, thereby becoming an owner in Saab. Then, the Swedes want to sell the company quickly to a Chinese buyer. Any Chinese would be fine. The Swedish government would prefer – the yellow devil you know – Geely.

The sinister version is told by Swedish Radio. It basically reiterates the same game plan, but under the headline “Lofalk has gone behind the backs of Saab.” The station says that  the Swedish government wants to “get rid of Saab’s CEO Victor Muller.”  The station claims that Lofalk convinced Pang Da and Youngman to withdraw from the deal, which would explain the missing money. The station says that Lofalk came back from China with the news that he has Geely as a buyer.

Let’s check in with the faithful at Saabsunited. They never liked Dagens Industri, and they prefer  the sinister version.

Geely is on record that they don’t want Saab, but this can change. If some of the above becomes reality instead of duck soup, then there is another problem in China: Only one company can ask for NDRC approval at any given time. A slighted Youngman can wait forever and tell Geely to take a number. Which would mean that the Swedish government will own Saab. If it is dumb enough to go for it.  They aren’t stupid.

 

 

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12 Comments on “Our Daily Saab: Duck And Cover...”


  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    “Which would mean that the Swedish government will own Saab.”

    Well, why not? The Swedish government will be on the hook one way or another for all the social problems that come with laying off thousands in an economic environment with high unemployment and a lack of prospects.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    This splinter keeps going deeper into my flesh.

    @getacargetacheck: One big reason for the Swedish government to not bail out Saab is that Saab will eventually fail anyway, which is why no investors are eager to buy them now. So if Sweden bails them out now, they’ll still be left with the social backlash when Saab crashes again – paying twice instead of once.

  • avatar
    jeff_vader

    Events seem to be moving very quickly this weekend but it certainly looks like there is an agenda falling into place and it looks to me like Muller is no longer setting it.
    We’ve had so many false endings to this saga but is seems this soap opera will finally finish at the end of this month. I do hope so.

  • avatar

    This whole thing is just making me sick, I’m not sure if the brand SAAB is dead as much as the product was. I think people would still buy a SAAB, if someone who was particularly masochistic with money, would just come in and finance more than just keeping them afloat, like new models. That of course is never going to happen, so I guess SAAB will go the way of the dead brand…

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Let’s just get this over with, shall we? Even with a pot of gold where are the customers for the product?

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Same old Saab story. It’s dead Jim. Bury it. How many “workers” are really hanging about waiting for the chinese fairy to anoint Muller? I doubt many and the ones that are aren’t the ones you want. The engineers and tech guys have left the building for more profitable pastures.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    This thing reminds me a Venezuelan 80′s soup opera: Abigail… it took a long long time to end.

    At this point it seems fairly obvious that the factory is not coming back to production soon. So the blue collar personnel is staying home.

    However I’m curious about the white collar payroll. Is the engineering team still working/developing the new car? What other parts of the organization are still somehow active?

  • avatar

    Sell Saab to Greece… or bring in the Doctor.*

    *Dr. Kevorkian Jr.


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