With Saab’s latest MOU with PangDa and Youngman expiring on Tuesday, the heat is on for parent company Swedish Automobile (SWAN) to hash out the many problems and disagreements between GM and the proposed Chinese buyers. And now that it’s fairly obvious that a deal won’t happen, as GM and the Chinese Government seem fairly well set against it, the question is “what next?” How do you plan an endgame that should have been initiated months, if not years ago? That’s the challenge being considered by the few remaining shareholders in SWAN, who are meeting in Holland to pick through the none-too appealing options.
Category: Chapter 11
“We will try to get clarity about what the decision from GM means and if there is any way ahead,” court-appointed administrator Guy Lofalk told Reuters. “I hope that I will know more before the end of the week.”
For the time being, Lofalk will not recommend to the court to end the bankruptcy protection process. He said it could happen though.
On Monday, GM said they would yank all licenses and oppose the deal if Saab would be sold 100 percent to China’s Pangda and Youngman.
Both Victor Muller and his mouthpiece Saabsunited now say they knew that all along.
We are in rare agreement on that. Last Friday, Sweden’s national publicly funded radio broadcaster Sverigesradio reached me and asked what I think of the deal. Read More >
While the flagwavers at Saabsunited wallow in the good news that the Swedish king announced at an annual moose hunt near Trollhättan that Victor Muller is a great guy, far away in Detroit, GM spokesman Jim Cain issued to Reuters what sounds like the death sentence to the sale of Saab to China’s Youngman and Pangda:
“GM would not be able to support a change in the ownership of Saab which could negatively impact GM’s existing relationships in China or otherwise adversely affect GM’s interests worldwide.”
The exactly same statement was sent to the Wall Street Journal, and GM will send it to anyone who asks what GM thinks of the deal. If Muller would have asked before announcing the sale, he most likely would have received the same answer.
Translation: Read More >
Today, Saab creditors met in a packed-beyond capacity courtroom on Vänersborg. After a short deliberation, the district court approved the reorganization plan, Göteborg’s Posten reports. It will cost 500 jobs in Trollhättan. On Friday, China’s Youngman and Pangda had agreed to take over Saab 100 percent – in a Memorandum of Understanding, which isn’t worth much, and which is littered with caveats.
On the last possible day to work out a deal before being forced into bankruptcy, the Victor Muller era has ended at Saab. The Swedish brand will now become a completely Chinese-owned company… if all goes to plan. A press release explains
Swedish Automobile N.V. (Swan) announces that it entered into a memorandum of understanding with Pang Da and Youngman for the sale and purchase of 100% of the shares of Saab Automobile AB (Saab Automobile) and Saab Great Britain Ltd. (Saab GB) for a consideration of EUR 100 million…
…The administrator in Saab Automobile’s voluntary reorganisation, Mr. Guy Lofalk, has withdrawn his application to exit reorganisation. The MOU is valid until November 15 of this year, provided Saab Automobile stays in reorganisation.
But remember, this is Saab… and its fate rests in the hands of many, many people not named Victor Muller. Despite the air of finality that is surrounding some of the media coverage of this latest announcement, this is not a done deal. The Saab saga rolls on…
With a Halloween deadline to get its restructuring back on track looming, Swedish Automobile has rejected an offer by Youngman and Pang Da to buy 100% of Saab’s shares. Moreover, the struggling Swedish brand has canceled the existing agreement with Youngman and Pang Da, its erstwhile would-be rescuers. A Saab presser notes:
Today, Swedish Automobile N.V. (Swan) announced that it has given notice of termination with immediate effect of the Subscription Agreement of July, 2011 entered into by Swan, Pang Da and Youngman.
Swan took this step in view of the fact that Pang Da and Youngman failed to confirm their commitment to the Subscription Agreement and the transactions on the agreed terms contemplated thereby as well as to explicit and binding agreements made on October 13, 2011 related to providing bridge funding to Saab Automobile AB (Saab Automobile) while in reorganization under Swedish law.
Pang Da and Youngman have presented Swan on October 19 and 22 with certain conditional offers for an alternative transaction for the purchase of 100 percent of the shares in Saab Automobile which are unacceptable to Swan. However, discussions between the parties are ongoing
Whenever a CEO says “bankruptcy is not an option,” you know the game is up. After complaining in this Swedish Radio interview (in English) that his court-appointed administrator is trying to sell Saab off wholesale to the Chinese, Victor Muller trots out Churchillian and Nietszchian calls to arms… in fact, he does everything short of bursting into a spirited rendition of “I Will Survive.” Unfortunately, Muller’s credibility is long gone, and he doesn’t help himself by trying to portray Lofalk as some traitorous backstabber. With Saab months (years? decades?) into its death-flails, and the most recent “rescuer” turning out to be a non-player, is it any wonder Lofalk wants to hand over the mess to the only viable companies involved (especially when Muller calls North Street a “strong partner”)? Muller continues to labor under two basic delusions: first, that he can sell a majority share to the Chinese while keeping Saab an essentially Swedish (or at least European) company and second, that anyone cares whether Saab becomes a Chinese company. Sorry Victor, there’s just nothing left here to fight for…
The man in the weineresque photograph is Alex Mascioli, head of North Street Capital in Greenwich, Conn. Supposedly, he will come up with $70 million by this weekend to save Saab form the abyss once more. Not much is known about the man – Wait, I take that back. Read More >
Guy Lofalk, the administrator of Saab’s reorganization, will ask the court in Vänersborg to terminate the reorganization process. Before, Saab expressed “doubts that the bridge funding of Youngman and Pang Da, of which a partial payment has been received, shall be paid in full on 22 October 2011.” Finally something we can agree on.
What happens if the court accepts Lofalk’s recommendation? Stockholm News explains it:
Death with Dignity apparently does not exist in Victor Muller’s vocabulary, as Reuters reports that the CEO of Saab’s parent company will receive loans from prospective investor Youngman in order to ward off liquidation in Swedish bankruptcy court. Youngman has committed some $97m in bridge loan financing to the troubled Swedish automaker, of which Saab has received $15m so far and will receive more payments this week in order to pay salaries and other expenses. Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs explains
“We are putting bridge financing in place so we can fund business during the reorganisation — so we don’t incur new debt. We have running costs, such as electricity, that we need to take care of. There are a number of business-critical operations that need to be funded”
Saab’s salaries are currently guaranteed by the Swedish government as part of Saab’s bankruptcy protection, but that guarantee expires on October 21, just before October salaries are due. Missing that payment would likely have spelled the end of Saab, but with Youngman’s money arriving in dribs and drabs it seems that we may be documenting the firm’s undignified collapse for another month or so.
Pangda’s Chairman Pang Qinghua was not in Stockholm as reported. He was in Chengdu. At least today. As you can see above, he smiled into TTAC’s camera. At the sidelines of the conference, Chairman Pang had told Fang Yan of Reuters:
“Now that it’s in bankruptcy protection, all previous pacts are invalid. It’s up to the court to decide. It can also find a new partner.”
Talking to Fang Yan again, Pang qualified the statement:
“What I meant was that during restructuring, the court is authorised to adapt any restructuring plans, including vetoing previous agreements. It’s up to the one handling the reorganisation to decide whether previous agreements are valid or not. I am sticking to the commitment. Yes, I am confident about it.”
Saab calls the initial comments a “misunderstanding,” and Victor Muller apparently texted Reuters to say the deal with both PangDa and Youngman are “on track.” But, as Bertel reported yesterday, the real issue is whether or not Saab has any intellectual property to bring to the table. If not, the Chinese government will not approve the deal, regardless of how optimistic Muller, Pang, or the Swedish bankruptcy administrator who controls Saab’s fate are. The furor over Pang’s comments have provided a temporary smokescreen for that issue, but it won’t last…
Saab is on court ordered life support. On appeal, the Court of Appeals for Western Sweden has approved Saab’s request for protection from creditors. Saab can now attempt a business reconstruction without the threat of imminent bankruptcy, The Local reports. Read More >
Writing these Saab stories is becoming as much fun as visiting a fading relative in a hospice: You have to do it, but you want to get it behind you, quickly. Today is the day a court in Sweden will decide whether it admits Saab’s appeal of a prior court decision that would have forced the Swedes into bankruptcy. In the meantime, Victor Muller came up with another plan. Read More >
That’s not us making the prediction. Stockholm News says that “Saab’s fate could be decided on Tuesday.” On Monday, the Court of Appeals will meet and will deliberate whether Saab will be allowed to appeal the District Court’s denial of a reconstruction.
Stockholm News does not expect a decision until Tuesday. But it predicts: Read More >
The white-collar unions Unionen and Ledarna filed bankruptcy petitions today against Saab, everybody from Associated Press to inside.saab reports. On the same day, Saab announced that it had licensed its PhoeniX architecture to China’s Youngman at firesale prices – a move that could possibly buy another month or two. But first things first: Read More >