Our Daily Saab: Egg In The Face

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

In a statement issued late Friday, China’s Geely poured cold water over rumors that it is interested in Saab, but confirmed that there was a meeting – because they wanted to be nice. There is another version that says that Sweden’s Finance Minister caused Geely’s Li Shu Fu a massive loss of face, whereupon he took his balls and went home.

“Geely agreed to meet with the relevant party and listened to their pitch out of politeness to Saab’s restructuring team. It was that restructuring team that first contacted Geely through a third party, and they did so hoping that Geely could help with Saab’s restructuring. Geely has no intention to get involved in the restructuring plans of SAAB.” Geely said its executives took the meeting after they had been first contacted through an unnamed third party.

Sweden’s Aftonbladet has a less polite version: The Swedish paper writes today that yesterday, Friday, at 3pm, Geely’s chairman Li Shu Fu hat a meeting scheduled with Finance Minister Anders Borg at the Finance Ministry in Stockholm. Li Shu Fu was ready to make a down-payment of €50 million towards a 100 percent ownership of Saab. Instead of the Finance Minister, his State Secretary Hans Lindblad showed up. Snubbed, Li Shu Fu got up and left the building. Saab is also mighty miffed. Says Aftonbladet:

“Saab has completely lost confidence in their administrator Guy Lofalk and plans to go to the District Court in Vänersborg on Monday to ask to have him removed.”
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="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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6 of 13 comments
  • Ingvar Ingvar on Oct 08, 2011

    Saabs demand on Lofalk is simply ludicrous. They are not in charge. Lofalk is in charge, appointed by the state, to clean up the mess that is Saabs doings. Second of all, the court won't cave in to demands made by a part with interests in this case, the notion is ludicrous beyond beilef. Thirdly the voice of Saab in this case, is the voices of Müller/Antonov. Of course Lofalk will have to make decisions that the Müller cadre will disagree on, that's why he's there in the first place. If they could've handled the case in the first place, there wouldn't be the need of a SECOND reconstruction.

    • See 1 previous
    • Jason Lombard Jason Lombard on Oct 09, 2011

      @Robert.Walter Yes, but the difference is that Steve Jobs' reality distortion field actually worked.

  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Oct 08, 2011

    "...whereupon he took his balls and went home." Wow, talk about tough decision, leave, lose face keep balls, stay keep face lose balls...

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Oct 09, 2011

    It looks like only American public companies run by hired CEOs are capable of acquiring worthless European companies and paying ridiculously high prices and/or fines for doing that. Ford comes to mind (JLR), or HP, or GM. Well they know that shareholders and taxpayers will hold the bag and whatever happens they will walk away with golden parachute. Again - why GM does not just buy SAAB back to save jobs in Sweden and the World peace in general since it looks like US government is out of picture and rich are ready to pay more in taxes? Did they wise up suddenly? Or they simply run out of all possible wrong moves? I mean they would be more than happy to make wrong decision and waste good chunk of shareholders/taxpayers money but already made all possible wrong decisions in the past and cannot figure out how to make another brilliant one. Wait they just transferred hybrid plugin know-how (paid by American taxpayers) to Chinese Government for nothing or may be even paid (bribe) to do that - another wise move to get slaughtered in the near future and make US technologically irrelevant as additional bonus.

  • Jeff_vader Jeff_vader on Oct 11, 2011

    Stories coming out of Trollhatten this morning are suggesting that if the Youngman money doesn't arrive within the next 48 hours, then Saab/SWAN will be judged to have broken the terms of their Re-Organisation and it will be revoked. And that's actually in the bank account, not yet another 'promise' that its on its way. Unsurprisingly, Saab/SWAN are currently in frantic talks with Youngman which I would imagine basically involve giving away most of whats left of the company in order to keep them on board after the loss of face suffered by the Chinese over the weekend. BAIC have now confirmed that they want nothing to do with Saab/SWAN either. Geely have issued yet another denial that they want Saab as well. As I mentioned higher up in the thread Muller now seems to have been sidelined and was caught totally off guard by Lofalks actions. Yesterday, there almost seemed to be some kind of press embargo as no news getting released about what was a very hectic weekend was very telling as well. I think the Swedish govenment have decided enough is enough and we are now into endgame. If it survives it survives. If it doesn't the market has spoken.