The last attempt at saving Saab failed when GM said it would not supply or license technology to Saab if it were 100% owned by PangDa and Youngman, scuttling the Chinese firms’ bid for outright control of the company. Now the two firms have sent a revised proposal to The General in hopes that they can provide safeguards for intellectual property, allowing them to purchase Saab without losing the link to GM. After all, both the 9-3 and 9-5 rely on GM technology and parts, while the 9-4X is wholly supplied by GM. Rachel Pang of PangDa tells TTELA.se
We have not discussed any changes with regard to ownership structure. We are concentrated on the GM issue… It’s about more commercial terms. We want to meet them and have asked for a meeting. First we must give them time to review our proposal. We are waiting for GM’s response and then we will of course respect it.
Of course, our understanding is that “the GM issue” is the same as the ownership structure issue… and keep in mind, PangDa and Youngman are looking for a meeting, not an agreement from GM. Which means this could drag on a while… and wouldn’t you know it, it’s time for Saab to pay salaries again.
GM’s China chief Kevin Wale poured a huge bucket of ice-cold water over hopes that China’s Pangda and Youngman will rescue Saab. The deal needs to be approved by the Chinese government, the European Investment Bank, the Swedish government and – GM.
“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.
Pangda, one of Saab’s presumptive white knights, could itself be facing financial difficulties. Both the staid government-owned China Daily and the more outspoken Taiwan-based China Times report strange financial going-ons at PangDa. Says China Times:
“Shareholders and securities analysts are scratching their heads over how a top automobile marketing group in China managed to “burn” a huge fund of 6 billion yuan (US$944 million) in just six months. Many have speculated that Pang Da Automobile Trade Co has shifted to financial leasing services to cope with stalling car sales caused by the government’s credit-tightening regulations.”
According to China Daily, $659 million had been “used to repay bank loans and supplement working capital.” China Times reports a lot of the money as lost and says: (Read More…)
There was no better place to clear up some questions about Saab than in Chengdu. After all, nowhere can you find the CEOs of all major Chinese carmakers and government officials all under the same roof, or even at your dining table. There also was no better place to get entangled in the messiest web of facts and fiction. Here is some local color: (Read More…)
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. (Read More…)
Saab is living off charitable donations and newly issued stock to allow its workers to live from paycheck to paycheck while doing nothing. Over at the Blog of Good Hope every little donation to the cause is praised as the Final Deliverance. According of a Blog of Good Hope post, representatives of the Chinese savior Pangda are in Trollhättan this weekend. One of the questions undoubtedly will be “how long, how much?” Or in the language of venture capitalists “how long until we run out of runway?” (Read More…)
So what are they saying in China about the Pangda/Youngman/Saab threeway? The blogs and message boards are full, of course. Cars are of high importance in CCC (car crazed China.) Much more important, what does China’s government say? Multiple agencies of the government will have to approve a deal with Saab. However, officials won’t utter a word before, often even after a deal is done or has been denied. But then, the government owns newspapers. Analysis of state media is a refined science in China. Let’s see some of it in action. (Read More…)
“Based on the information we have, it looks like we will start up production tomorrow,” Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs told Reuters today. That’s called a double hedge in the propaganda business.
But based on the information TTAC has, it looks like production will indeed take place on Friday. On Friday, an important visitor will come to Trollhättan: Pangda Chief Executive Pang Qinghua, with entourage. Today, Pang is in Stockholm for a chit-chat with Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson and the Swedish debt office. Their goodwill is needed to admit Pangda as an investor in Saab. And the Minister has a busy schedule … (Read More…)
“There is almost no chance for the government to approve Pangda’s purchase of Spyker’s stake, let alone their plan to set up a new joint venture in China,” so said Zhang Xin, an analyst at Beijing-based Guotai Junan Securities, to Bloomberg. “The deal doesn’t fit in the government’s plan for consolidation.” (Read More…)
Supposedly, the idea of the Saab / Pangda deal was to skirt requirements to obtain Chinese government approval. As we have explained on the day the MoU (as Muller sees it) or contract (as Pangda sees it) was signed, it would be most silly to try to get around the Chinese government. They have a whole array of measures to demonstrate their displeasure if they don’t like a deal.
If ChinaCarTimes is correctly informed, the paperwork was barely dry and the Chinese government already made its annoyance felt. According to a CCT report, the Chinese government issued a warning to Pangda. The story is written in Chinglish, but this is what it seems to be saying: (Read More…)