e24 has conducted an interview with the Swede, Lars Carlstrom, who is the co-ordinator of the Genii-Ecclestone bid to purchase Saab Automobile.
They’ve granted me specific permission to post a translated version of the interview here at SU. My slightly edited Googletrans follows.
Here is the real estate man who tries to save Saab
2010-01-08 | Posted 13:34 | Updated 14:08
“Saab will be able to supply over 100 000 cars in a few years, this is by no means impossible,” says a previously unknown real estate entrepreneur, Lars Carlström, who along with Genii, and Ecclestone have made a bid for Saab. Previously, he worked together with Håkan Samuelsson and Jan Nygren to rescue the automaker.
There currently are two groups, but they started as one. In February and March 2009 the consortium was called Catherina and was part of the process. But a major financier jumped left and the consortium was forced to drop out.
Behind Catherina stood among other Hakan Samuelsson, former director of truck manufacturer MAN, Jan Nygren, a former vice president for war materials manufacturer, Saab, and real estate entrepreneur Lars Carlström.
Lars Carlström is a major shareholder and director of real estate and asset management company Evox, with former Skandia CEO Bjorn Wolrath the chair according to the website.
Now, Hakan Samuelsson, together with Jan Nygren, and Lars Carlström, went our separate ways.
– There was little changed conditions and we chose to work in different directions. There was no crack in the group, but at last the presentation we got trouble with financing. Both Hakan and I then thought it was tough to push it further. This requires of course an extensive capital to buy Saab.
But Lars Carlström drove on. And yesterday floated a new bidder to the surface – Genii Capital. Late last night it became known that Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, who has made one billion fortune in Formula 1, including the sale of television rights in 1999, was behind the grouping.
How did you get Genii Capital?
– I have a pretty good network of contacts around the world. And it was through it. There is also the Bernie Ecclestone with a partner who has a fantastic network of contacts in the automotive side. He is a beacon in the car door, but also in industry. It is invaluable for Saab.
And it was Genii Capital who had contact with Mr Ecclestone?
– That’s right. They are partners and have worked together a long time with various investments. Genii course, also owns the Renault Formula 1 racing teams. They are also personal friends.
This seems to have gone very quickly?
– You could say so. I contacted the Genii a week, ten days ago. More than that, it is not.
So you called and thought this was a good idea and they bought it at once?
– We had a few meetings and went through Caseta. So it is clear that it was very quickly marched. Genii has put in considerable resources in order to get deeper in the store. But it was tough anyway, we sat late at night yesterday, and the bid went off through mail just before the deadline yesterday.
Have you received any response from GM?
– No, not yet. But now GM has received our bid and they will confer on its edge. I expect that they look at it during the day, and if we’re lucky, we learn something tonight. Otherwise, it will be on Monday.
How much have you arranged?
– It is a bit complex and I can not reveal it. However, I can say that it requires substantial capital for the acquisition of Saab. You have to be able to live without EIB loan, which is 400 million euros. EIB loan may take time, and it may indeed be a no.
You are not dependent on the EIB loan, but have you adopted the Koenigsegg business plan?
– Exactly. And the plan is very thorough and stress-tested by a number of consultants who found it very credible and sustainable.
The business plan was leaked, and it has been described as very optimistic?
– We are absolutely not so. If you look back three years Saab sold 130 000 cars and this year is expected Saab to sell 50 000 to 60 000, which definitely will not be a problem with the new 9-5: an, which will now and even 9-4x, which will in end of the year.
New 9-5: an was supposed to be released in 2006 but was delayed, partly because of the owner of GM’s financial crisis.
The business plan is also forecast to 9-3: an will sell for more than 40 000 copies 2011th It has since come to be nine years old
– 9-3 has been a few years, but it has been updated and the sale will definitely lift.
– Saab will be able to supply over 100 000 cars in a few years, I look nothing like impossible with the model range will. When we sold over 100 000 cars were models who were 10-12 years old.
– We have reflected on that Saab is largely a debt free company, has one of Europe’s most modern production facilities and several new car models, which basically is ready to be launched. I’m surprised that not more automakers have expressed interest.
It has been speculated that GM does not want to sell Saab. What is your comment?
– I do not agree. I believe strongly that they want to sell. They would find it really sad to close Saab. Since GM has pushed to include the U.S. government and has pledged to phase out a number of brands.