By on October 5, 2011

At Saab, which is working (well, not really working) under court protection from creditors, the big question is: “Did the money come in?”

The money is the €70 million ($93 million) promised by the Chinese bus manufacturer Youngman as a bridge loan. Saab needs cash desperately. Court protection means no new loans. Cash is king.  No cash has arrived from China. Saab is not the only party in Sweden that is waiting for answers from China. Sweden’s National Debt office is waiting for answers also. Let’s have a look.

Reuters reports that Saab “has not yet received the 70 million euros ($93 million) worth of bridge financing it needs to survive while it restructures under court protection. This according to Saab spokesman Eric Geers who told Reuters:

“The money has not come in yet. We originally thought it would take about two weeks. The process is ongoing, and we will give information as soon as we have the money. It is hard to say exactly when this process will be finished. But it will be soon.”

The loan is in exchange for a non-exclusive license of Saab’s (unfinished) PhoeniX platform. The money was expected by September 25, but it’s not here. Not much will happen in China this week. It’s the October holidays where anybody who is somebody in China celebrates the birthday of the PRC by traveling to the beaches of Thailand, or  shopping in Tokyo. The only one seemingly left is your solitary scribe.

Also waiting for word from China is Sweden’s National Debt Office. They want to reach an opinion on Youngman, needed to approve a $320 million investment into Saab. For that, the NDO needs financial information. Said Anna Petre of the National Debt Office to Dagens Industri:

“It is slow. A family-owned Youngman is not accustomed to disclose sensitive information about economic figures such as sales and profits.  I asked to get revised financial statements from them. And they asked what I  mean with ‘revised.’ They work in different ways than we do.”

I can only imagine the terror that request caused at Youngman. Many Chinese companies don’t even publish a list of their products out of fear that the competition will find out what they have. A foreign government agency asking for an updated P&L? Horrors! Everybody, hide!

That information is crucial. Dagens Industri says:

“By the end of this week, the information must have reached the Debt Office to enable it to make a decision before 14 October. This is when a decision is expected from China to allow Youngman and Pang Da to invest $320 million and become the majority owner of Saab.”

By the end of this week people start coming back from vacation in China. Slowly.

Saab’s schedule, as compiled by Dagens Industri, is tight, very tight, and it does not allow for the customary Chinese delays. Never negotiate with the Chinese while looking at your watch or calendar.

NDRC approval in two weeks?  Sure.

I don’t have Victor Muller’s balls.

If that timetable would apply to me, I’d stay in Thailand, and buy a new phone.

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11 Comments on “Our Daily Saab: The Chinese Deal...”


  • avatar
    jeff_vader

    Todays headline is that money promised by Victor Muller has failed to arrive.

    And in other news the rain comes down in bits towards the end of the year, a German has a collection of pointy hats in the Vatican and bears have been seen looking for toilet paper.

    When will this ever end? Saab stagger on like a bad guy in a Julia Roberts movie. He’s dead, no he isn’t, He’s dead, no he isn’t,He’s dead, no he isn’t, He’s dead, no he isn’t… Will someone just put us & them out of their misery.

    And now here’s Ollie with the weather, hows it looking Ollie?

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    “The only one seemingly left is your solitary scribe.”

    Try not to get any plugged drains, as I hear even the plumbers go to Thighland and Tokeio during the holiday period…

    Which may be the right approach … Muller needs to take his balls to Thighland to look for the guys with the Hanko to rubber-stamp his plan…

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    I didn’t realize this until it happened to mine recently…

    Saab cars are losing their trunk and hood badges. Everywhere. I pull up to a light. Oh, look. A gray 9-3 Aero. With a peeled off front badge. There he goes. Oops. Trunk badge gone as well.

    Over and over, Saabs with no markings. Just the chrome round circle where the fire-breathing lion-chicken once proudly rode.

    Is it spontaneous? Is it programmed into the machine? Is it contagious? Is it sympathetic?

    Or are all the Saabs simply performing the automotive equivalent of putting paper bags over their heads?

    So I asked my dealer, “How much for a new front and rear decals, good sir?”

    “Sixty bucks.”

    “Oh, my. That’s quite a lot. Well, okay…”

    “Each.”

    “Each?”

    “Before installation. One hour minimum.”

    “But that’s two-hundred dollars to advertise a brand I’m not even sure exists any longer?”

    “Let me know. Pretty soon, those’ll be hard to get.”

    “You know, I think I’ll just let my car stay generic. It’s less embarrassing for it, me and, I’d imagine, you.”

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Yes, an epidemic issue with Saabs for many years, though BMW badges do it too. The price is silly, and the labor even more so as it takes about 2 minutes to change one. I call them “silver badge” editions.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Fill the circle with something creative, like a happy face, or a flag cut to fit the circle, or anything that strikes your fancy…

    • 0 avatar
      jeff_vader

      In the UK there’s a more mundane reason for the badge thefts. Most Saab spares departments and bodyshops haven’t seen either front or back ones for about three months.

      Along with keys, ABS sensors, AC units, etc,etc,etc.

  • avatar
    jeff_vader

    Its being reported this morning by the Swedish newspaper Dn.se that Youngman are out and Geely are asking both the NRDC and Saabs administrator about replacing them.

    Talk about last minute.

  • avatar
    Paul W

    “… or shopping in Tokyo.”

    Since when did it not become a MAJOR hassle for a Chinese citizen to get a Japanese visa, especially for something like a little shopping trip?

    • 0 avatar

      Get with the program. Chinese tourists are in high demand in Japan. Announcements in department stores are in Japanese and Chinese. There are stores in Akihabara that have only 220V equipment, sold by Chinese sales folk to Chinese.

      Visas to Japan are handed out like candy to any Chinese with a job and a credit card. It’s easier to pull money out of a Japanese ATM with a Chinese Unionpay card than with a Citicard.

      I am a regular commuter on the Peking-Tokyo route, flights are frequent and full.


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