The U.S. government has managed to recover $21 million in cash from Fisker, funds that will go towards repaying the nearly $200 million its received from the government in the form of loans.
PrivCo, a private corporate intelligence firm, has published a 20+ page dossier on Fisker’s seemingly strong ability to fundraise for itself, while failing to do a good job of actually creating cars. With Fisker teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, the results are staggering; with just under 2000 units sold, Fisker burned through an estimated $1.3 billion in venture capital, taxpayer-funded loans and private investor funds.
Workers at an LG Chem plant in Holland, Michigan have already been put on furlough before a single battery has come off the line. Workers have three weeks of paid “work”, and one week off unpaid at the $300 million plant.
Viewers of last night’s Presidential debate may have caught Mitt Romney bad-mouthing Tesla and Fisker during his remarks. Meanwhile, Tesla’s new prospectus shows that they’re hardly out of the woods yet, financially speaking.
Canadians have some of the highest household debt levels in the world, thanks to cheap mortgages and home equity credit lines. And car loans are next.
Officials working with the Department of Energy tell the Detroit News that GM and Chrysler face no major obstacles in their quest for huge retooling loans from the DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan program. GM is seeking $14.4b and Chrysler has asked for $8.55b in low-cost government loans. Says Matt Rogers, a senior adviser to the Energy Department
Project finance details need to be worked through, but those things are working out just fine as we work directly with the companies. It’s really a process of making sure that each of the projects that they have are in fact competitive.
Er, competitive compared to what?
The Detroit News, by some regarded as the in-house organ of GM, has issues with GM. The DetN doesn’t like GM’s latest TV ad (“some future models shown”) in which Ed Whitacre proclaims that GM paid back its “loan, in full, with interest, years ahead of schedule.”
The “GM ad glosses over the reality” complains the headline of the article in which the former unofficial organ of GM rips Whitacre a new one. Says the DetN: “He’s technically correct because he clearly uses the word “loan.” Otherwise vague? Yes. Misleading? Depends on your perspective.”
Then, the sky is falling once again. (Read More…)
While the White House and most of the media spent the last two days parroting GM’s claim that it “paid back” taxpayers, Senator Chuck Grassley was busy writing a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury [letter available in PDF here]. The three-page note opens:
Dear Secretary Geithner:
General Motors (GM) yesterday announced that it repaid its TARP loans. I am concerned, however, that this announcement is not what it seems. In fact, it appears to be
nothing more than an elaborate TARP money shuffle.
No surprises there: TTAC has been all over this ruse for months now. Grassley does sum the situation up nicely, stating that “A debt-for-equity swap is not a repayment,” but the most interesting part of his letter is his theory for why GM and the Administration approved the tax-money reshuffle. Thus far, we’ve assumed that PR was the driving concern in this transparent deception. According to Grassley though, there may be another reason…
Credit reporting agency TransUnion is forecasting a rise in auto loan delinquencies next year, adding to the list of factors that could slow a turnaround in auto sector sales and profits in 2010. 60-day auto loan delinquency has been rising throughout 2009, reports the WSJ, as tighter lending standards have increased the ratio of delinquencies in outstanding loans. Those tighter standards sill contribute to a slight downturn in delinquencies in the first half of next year TransUnion’s Peter Turek tells Automotive News [sub], but by halfway through the year those numbers should increase again. Nationwide, TransUnion reckons .92 of all auto loans will be in delinquency by the end of 2010, compared to .86 at the end of this year. The average national auto debt is $12,542, and the Freep reports that loan terms are falling and average credit scores for approved loans are rising.
Looks like GM may have done some creative accounting after all – at least according to Swedish Government and their consulting firm KPMG. As we’ve reported the last couple of days, Saab’s rescue has been hanging by a thread due to questions around the company’s financial situation prior to the start of the financial crisis. Saab needs the EU to approve the Swedish Government’s guarantee of an EIB loan to Koenigsegg group if the deal is going to go through. If Saab, during the summer of 2008 – when the financial crisis started – were not in sound financial condition, the EU cannot, will not, approve Swedish government’s guarantees to the EIB loan, and the loan will not be granted. And reports from di.se yesterday almost laid that possibility to rest, with reports that GM had lost $ 5.100,- on each Saab-car sold during the last 8 years. Now, as commentator dlfcohn and others at ttac, as well as several commentators at di.se have pointed out, creative accounting can be useful in major corporates i.e to avoid taxes in tax-heavy countries. This, apparently (at least according to Swed.gov’t/KPMG) was the case with GM/Saab.
According to the Financial Times General Electric’s in-house virtual bank, GE Capital, has agreed to give JLR (Jaguar-Land-Rover) new financing secured by vehicles as they come off the production lines. Cash flow wise, JLR will get money almost instantly upon completion of production rather than later on down the road when the dealers and/or their banks pay for the vehicles. GE Capital says it looks forward to helping other European automakers free up working capital by borrowing against “underutilised assets”. This new kind of financing gives companies a powerful incentive to build cars for the “Sales Bank” even if no firm dealer commitments are in hand. Rut Row!