There are reports in from both Dagens Industri and TTELA naming some interesting names in the chase for Saab.
I’ve covered bits of the Dagens report via Reuters earlier, but I’ll cover it again here to tie it all up here in one post so the conversation is concentrated in one place.
Latest news indicates that Deutsche Bank are asking around 10 of the initial 27 suitors who signed confidentiality agreements to discuss their intentions for the company, which will go some way to whittling down this group to the four or five who will be asked to submit a bid for Saab.
We’re getting to the pointy end, people. Saab’s initial reorganisation period ends on May 20 (or is it May 19??) and I’m sure all parties would like to get these preliminaries tied away prior to asking for another three-month extension.
So, the suitors and the way they’re described.
Geely – have previously denied any interest but were reported to be in Sweden getting the grand tour in the last few weeks.
Koenigsegg – the one we’re all hoping for, though it may be for all the wrong reasons. Romantically, they must be the favourite.
US investors – their identities are unknown, but DI report that there’s some US money sniffing around, and they’re big players. More than one of them, apparently.
Both TTELA and DI note that Chinese company Chery have received state approval to go forth and multiply. Chery are China’s biggest privately owned car company.
TTELA also mention BMW and Hyundai as possibilities. Hyundai I can see, BMW I can’t. I just don’t see why they’d have the need to stray from their formula with something in a similar market space.
Let’s not forget the potential suitor that they didn’t mention in those articles – the Norwegians and Think! I wrote about them last week:
Norwegian State is one of the speculators who have been in and looked at Trollhättan Saab, writes the newspaper GT today.
According to a source within GM, representatives of the Norwegian Government have been in Trollhättan and looked at the factory. It should, according to data, act on a wager on a Swedish built hybrid electric with Norwegian origin.
Geely and Chery would have to be considered outsiders. One thing a potential investor will have to do is obtain loan guarantees from the Swedish government. There is a train of thought in both articles that the Swedes would be concerned about both the loss of jobs to China, and the loss of technological know-how to China.
The marraige of two Swedish companies, one of whom is a 62-year-old Swedish sporting and design icon and the other being an upstart supercar maker working out of an aircraft hangar. Reportedly, Koenigsegg made their tour in the company of a venture capital representative. Can Koenigsegg, a small quantity manufacturer manage a volume producer, even one of Saab’s small size? I’d love to find out.
The thought of US investors makes me nervous. Unless they’ve got heaps of money, so much so that they won’t try and six-sigma the company out of its identity, I’d be wary. Yes, recent experience may have something to do with this.
Hyundai are kicking goals wherever they go at the moment, though I wonder how it’s going to work out in the long run. Their recent sales efforts in the US, where they guarantee to take your car back with no penalty if you lose your job, have led to great sales numbers, but it could come back to bite them big-time in 2010 when the full effect of the global financial crisis may be felt. They are building much better cars, though.