A report in today’s Dagens Industri will give you a pretty clear indication of who the Swedish government’s favourite is for a takeover of Saab.
You may remember Maud Olofsson’s almost palatable disappointment when Fiat pulled out of the bidding for Opel. She’ll be smiling again now as Fiat are apparently back in the game for Opel (kinda) and included in that is Sergio Marchionne’s plans to include Saab.
Fiat has come back as one of the candidates to take over Saab, the details of the seller to General Motors turned to the question of who should take over Opel, writes Dagens Industri.
According to Dagens Industri flourishes new information that GM is looking for a better deal to sell Opel than the current candidate, the subcontractor Magna offers.
“I am not surprised. That’s exactly what we have seen with GM for a long time. It signed preliminary deals, but after a time GM can open up to sweeten and enhance the bids for their own part. It is no surprise, but it does not contribute to any clarity, “says Jöran Hägglund, State Secretary at the Industry Ministry, to DI.
Secretary of State describes Fiat plans for Saab as “exciting” and suggests that Fiat probably has more resources to help Saab, who need to borrow money quickly to be able to produce cars.
“Fiat is a larger group who managed to turn a negative into a positive development and have the ability to fend off the up and downs. In light of the need for capital, it may perhaps feel better to have it in the back, unless a smaller player has enough capital with them, “he says to Dagens Industri.
Any references to Koenigsegg in the last few weeks have been quite negative in tone. The contrast here is blinding.
I’m not against Fiat owning Saab. The continued tie-in with Opel would annoy me more, personally. I’m quite sure that Saab would have more identity under Fiat than what they did under GM.
What annoys me, though, is the government’s lack of consistency in their commentary. Koenigsegg may be small but Fiat have huge problems of their own in terms of debt and their work with Chrysler in the US.
I guess if they look big it’s a less risky deal in the eyes of the public. And it’s the public who votes at election time.
I’ve got to go hunting, but I haven’t read anything recently that shows Fiat are active again in their pursuit of Opel. The last I read they had left their offer on the table, saying it was the best they could make.
GM were pursuing improved offers and BAIC and RHJ are going to submit improved offers, but as I understood it, Fiat would let theirs stand saying it was the best they could do.
The Opel deal is under significant pressure, not only from GM courting different people, but also from the EU:
The guidelines for state aid to ailing companies through the German “Economy Fund” is very strictly: The state must be of high interest rates for the Opel credit. For the guarantees envisaged by 2014 further fees would be payable. Only 90 percent of a loan should be hedged.
If the Federal Government and the investor do not fulfill these conditions, the control of EU state aid rescue will be effective: Opel is threatened with harsh conditions, the company would have to reduce capacity and close plants.
Thanks to MG in comments and Alexandros via email