The big news overnight was that the European Commission wants to look further into Saabs condition before it gives it’s tick to Saab’s EIB loans and the associated state guarantees.
What’s got me curious, though, is that the EU isn’t so much concerned about Saab’s business case now, they apparently want to look into their business as it stood a few months ago.
From The Local:
According to a document reviewed by the TT news agency, the European Commission wants assurances that Saab did not have economic problems last summer which could have impeded eligibility for state subsidies.
As far as I know, Saab didn’t receive any state subsidies last summer, aside from the protections it was entitled to under Swedish corporate reconstruction law. Saab have received diddly-squat from the Swedish government, unless you count a bunch of smarmy one-liners about windmills as state aid.
The fact that the EU have just asked for this, combined with their normal up-to-two months timeline for decision making means that it could be early January before they make their decision known. But it should be noted that two months is an outer limit. It could also happen sooner.
The obvious problem with a January decision is that GM’s initial framework for a Saab sale or closure mentioned December 31 this year as a deadline. If the EU take until early January then it’s going to be mid-late January before the deal is settled because after the EU decision, the Swedish Debt Office then has to make up its mind about loan guarantees.
Everything’s on hold because the EIB loan is a lynchpin in this deal. It has to be included or the deal’s off.
Whilst GM have said that December 31st is the deadline, remember that they also said they’d sell Opel. I have a hard time seeing GM cutting Saab off if the successful resolution of this deal is just 30 days further on than their initial deadline.