11/07/11 – The developing deal between Swedish Automobile and Chinese investors, a deal that would resurrect Saab from its current financial coffin, may be dead on arrival. According to an article on Reuters.com this morning, GM is considering killing the deal that would send Saab over to Chinese automotive companies Youngman and Pang Da. The deal, worth 100 euro million, has until November 15th to be accepted by a slew of invested parties. One of these is General Motors, who as the former owner of Saab, still holds some preferred shares in the Swedish company. The company has been reported as being indifferent to the state of Saab, but rather concerned with their own role in this changing of chairmen.
It was reported late Friday that GM would deny the option for Chinese investors to take control of Saab if it meant that it would affect their interest in China and beyond. The reason being, is that GM still provides several components and services to Saab Automobile and if the deal went through, the American auto manufacturer could be replaced by a Chinese counterpart. That would hurt GM where it matters to them most; their wallets. Anticipating this, GM has made it clear Friday, they would consider turning down the sale.
This morning, Kevin Wale, president and managing director for GM’s China operation, reiterated GM’s statement to Reuters in a phone interview. He was quoted as saying, “It doesn’t make sense for us to support any change that might adversely affect us. We use global architectures and those global architectures are used in a number of products we make at SGM.” SGM or Shanghai GM is GM’s Chinese branch that the company has worked furiously to build up over the past few years.
While it makes fiscal sense to be worried about the deal, rejecting the sale could very much end Saab all together. In that case, GM would lose that aspect of their production either way. Still, this could be a tactic implemented by GM to strike a side deal with Pang Da and Youngman Lotus. By voicing their concerns publicly, GM may be greasing their wheels in a way that could get a contract in place between the Chinese investors and GM to continue their service to the Saab name.
This move is not that different than what Saab’s current owner, Swedish Automobile had done two weeks prior to the deal. Feeling vulnerable by the Chinese insistence to buy out control of Saab, Swedish Automobile announced they would end the agreement between them and the Chinese. As we all know, that lasted for about three days, until Saab announced the deal would send Saab to China in exchanged for a fair price on the bankrupt manufacturer.
For now, GM is firm in their position. Whether this will stay as is, will be revealed no later than the 15th of the month, when the deadline to make the sale is set to expire. One thing is for sure, however. Saab’s future is still up in the air.
Tyler Baker; OSM Writer
( Source – Reuters.com )
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