Saab: EU Can Spike The Spyker Deal

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

So you thought the Saab deal is done? A deal is never done until the check clears. Speaking of clearing, Laurence Stassen, a member of the European Parliament, and a member of the Dutch Partij voor de Vrijheid (a right-of-the-center party in the Netherlands) is seeking clarification from Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Vrouw Stassen wants to know if there is any forbidden state aid involved in the Saab/Spyker deal, the Dutch news site NU.NL reports. The Swedish government guarantees a loan of €400m, which Spyker then is supposed to get from the European Investment Bank. Spyker is, well, banking on that money.

The matter is especially iffy as €320m of the money comes from a special European fund set up to support the development of environmentally friendlier cars – and funds need to be used for that purpose, writes the Dutch Financieele Dagblad. Keeping the lights on in Trollhättan while GM delivers parts doesn’t quite fit the purpose.

Neelie Kroes is supposed to answer another inconvenient question from Ms. Stassen: ”Who will ultimately pay the bill if the takeover fails?”

Stassen’s European Parliament colleague Corien Wortmann , a Christian Democrat, also wants an investigation into the matter, says De Telegraaf.

Wortmann figures such an investigation could take several months. During which nothing will happen, except for lost time and money.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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14 of 16 comments
  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Jan 29, 2010

    Kroum: The The EU Parliament may be a bunch of tools (or a place where you dump unwanted politicians in an environmentally responsible way.) However, an EU Commissioner (or Commissar ...) wields enormous power. If Neelie's thumb goes down, there will be no EIB loan. Remember what happened with Opel. Kroes wanted clarification letters from the German government, and all hell broke loose. Also, in European politics, the EU Commissions are often intentionally used as the bad guy. Politicians play to their constituents, promise aid to save jobs, knowing that the EU will shoot it down. When it gets shot down, they throw up their hands and say "we tried our best."

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    • Kroum Kroum on Jan 30, 2010

      Well put, Nutella. There is no denying this a risky move for Victor Muller and his investors. If executed properly, it has the potential to be handsomely rewarding. If not - it surely will ruin him and his company. Some people adapt to the world, others try to adapt the world to themselves. Progress depends on the latter. Less than ten years ago Michael Dell was ridiculing Apple and suggesting it should declare bankruptcy to relieve its investors. Now Apple nets in four times the income of Dell, thanks to innovative engineering and brilliant marketing (the parts bin of a Mac or an iPhone is the same like the parts bin of a Dell or a Samsung).

  • Nutella Nutella on Jan 29, 2010

    From the EIB website Description The project concerns the part-financing of Saab Automobile’s expenditures for selected R&D projects in the 2009-2012 period. Objectives The project concerns RDI activities related to the improvement of fuel efficiency and safety of the Saab Automobile’s future car fleet. The project includes also the capital expenditures associated with the new tooling and upgrading of existing facilities for the production of the above developments. The project, which will be implemented over the period 2009-2012, will be carried out in the promoter’s existing facilities in Trollhättan, Sweden, and at engineering facilities of automotive suppliers and specialised engineering companies Status Approved

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    • Kroum Kroum on Jan 29, 2010

      Unlikely to be shot down. There is nothing wrong with it - technically or otherwise, and there is little risk to the EIB itself. From what we know, the business plan Spyker used is the same one that Koenigsegg and Saab management developed earlier last year. At the end of the day, such loans are the exact reason why the EIB was created and still exists. It's a political institution, not a commercial bank. Now, the French auto subsidies - that's a lot more interesting of a story.

  • Bill h. Bill h. on Jan 29, 2010

    Kroum +1+

  • Jethy Jethy on Jan 30, 2010

    Laurence Stassn a member of a right of the middle parliamentary party in Holland? The PVV, Party Voor de Vrijheid right from the MIDDLE?? Let me help you a little bit and shed a little light on this right of the middle party you are talking about. It is so right wing as it goes, the party leader is officially accused of spreading hate against Muslims and they are denying climate change. They are known in Holland for questioning everything, so why not questioning the EU support for the development of environmentally friendly techniques in Sweden? just something to think about. Sweden has taken the environment always very serious. Think for instance about what they achieved in reducing CO2 emissions. That is unprecedented, even within Europe. Saab is not developing these new techniques by themselves, that is done by specialized companies that re offering their services to SAAB. The development money is used to finance that kind of developments and how the money is spend is checked by the accountants of the EU Development bank on a monthly basis. SAAB cannot do anything else with that kind of money and by the way, this funds was released in October last year, way before Spyker was in the picture. It is all a storm in a water glass, blown up by a racist party who does not know anything better to do than trying to benefit from this politically. Jeck, I get a very bad taste in my mouth if I read this kind of stories, sorry.