Christian von Koenigsegg speaks: Eker, the Saab deal and BAIC

It’s good to see Christian von Koenigsegg in the media today, especially given the recent articles out of Norway that cast some doubts over the whole deal.

CvK has done a brief interview with Sweden’s SvD news service, which has been translated for our benefit by ctm.

In the interview, he talks about the work they’re doing, the speculations, the group and a little about the partnership with Beijing Automotive.

Enjoy…..

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“Saab a major sacrifice”

Far from a finalized deal. Christian von Koenigsegg, CEO Koenigsegg Group, denies the rumors of trouble in the group of investors that are to take over Saab Automobile from GM. But the protracted affair is starting to affect the CEO.

– “It is a great sacrifice of time, money, resources, and brands,” he told SvD Näringsliv.

It is evident that the past so enthusiastic entrepreneurs behind Koenigsegg Group no longer manages to always keep up the positive attitude. This weekend Bård Eker, the Norwegian businessman and owner of the Koenigsegg Group, went out in the Norwegian media and talked about an ongoing ownership split in the group that could threaten the whole affair. But according to Christian von Koenigsegg, who talked with Bård Eker, he is misquoted in the newspapers.

– “There is absolutely no fight amongst the owners in the Koenigsegg Group.”

Bård Eker said that ‘if not everything is in place by Wednesday, we are out.’ But where he or the newspapers got Wednesday as the end date is something Christian von Koenigsegg do not know.

– “What we’ve noticed with this deal is that it is very media intense and arouses a huge interest. We can not go out and talk about the details on a daily basis. We need to focus on our deal,” he says and believes that it leaves some room for speculations and misunderstandings.

There are still a number of parallel processes running. Among other things, there is the important loan of just over 4 billion SEK from the European Investment Bank, EIB, in about three weeks time. First, however, the National Debt Office must provide a loan guarantee to the EIB.

– “Both the bank and the Debt Office receives constant information from us and Saab on what happens, and we respond to their questions when they request more information.”

Although there are many milestones left, Koenigsegg Group looks at them as formalities. Christian von Koenigsegg stresses that all parties involved have the same goal of bringing the deal together at the end of October or early November.

He, who previously sounded so hopeful and so positive, is a little bit more stressed today but do not think the Koenigsegg Group will pull out of the deal.

– “I would not say. But then we have the situation that the conditions have to be sufficiently interesting for us to make the deal. It is a great sacrifice of time, money, resources, and brands,” he says, but points out that they have come a long way so far and that conditions are ‘reasonable’.

Have the conditions changed lately?

– That I would not say either, but it is a negotiation between different parties and everyone have to agree. It is a process that requires a lot of resources,” he says, adding that they are on the track.

The loan that Saab needs from the EIB is mainly intended for new environmental technologies. Without going into details about what environmental technologies the company will develop, Christian von Koenigsegg says that it is an important part of the business plan that the group has presented and that is now being evaluated by the EIB.

Koenigsegg Group has signed a letter of intent with Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings, BAIC, on having them as a minority owner of the Koenigsegg Group to cover up the missing part of the capital needed. But the size of BAIC’s interest is still unclear.

– “We have not gone out with a precise number. It is important to note that they are minority shareholders. They can not control Koenigsegg Group in any way, but they are a partner with the rest of us,” says Christian von Koenigsegg, who do not want to say if BAIC has covered the 3 billion SEK previously missing according to estimates.

– “The fact that 3 billion SEK is missing does not come from us. We said that we saw a bit missing in the business plan which was around 30 percent and we saw the need for multiple parties to solve it. And the parties were GM, Koenigsegg Group, and the government – but the government declined, and then we found the third partner in the BAIC.”

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Thanks again to ctm!

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