Yesterday afternoon several news sites on the web featured stories about Saab/Svan still being in talks with Pang Da and Youngman. This is not a big surprise. Some deals that the parties have agreed on earlier are still standing so there is definetely need for further talks, even if not on the highest level. From ttela.se:
“There are ongoing discussions between for example lawyers to see what solutions exist. I will personally not be there until the conditions exist for a deal to really take place,” said Victor Muller to news agency TT on Monday afternoon.
On Bloomberg Businessweek we can see quotes fron Pang Da
“All plans that are beneficial for Saab should be discussed during the reorganization,” Pang Qinghua, chairman of Pang Da, China’s biggest auto dealer by market value, said in a telephone interview. “We have been in touch after the weekend announcement and continue to look at new proposals.”
“We would still like to continue helping Saab, directly providing short-term and long-term funding to Saab by way of other investment schemes,” Youngman Lotus said in a statement today, adding that it regretted Saab’s “unilateral” decision.
No surprise in that.
On a personal note I can say that the indications we get about North Street Capital are quite promising and I have high hopes in them not only to provide the bridge financing but also a further partnership. Rest assured that behind the scenes there are a lot of things going on right now. Another piece from the ttela.se article:
“It is not clear what the next step is right now,” the company’s Ms. Gustav’s said this morning, and that in the current situation there is no evidence that the promised investment from North Street Capital would not be going on. The way the news of the U.S. investment came on the last Thursday might otherwise be interpreted as also was part of the negotiation game with Chinese companies.
ADDITION FROM JEFF: NSC was not a part of a negotiation ploy, they’ve been working on this deal for some time now and are there to make sure Saab has an exit strategy an avoids bankruptcy.
And of course the automotive analysts also jump the train now (from Bloomberg Businessweek again):
“Failure of the Saab deal may be a good thing because Pang Da and Youngman can’t save Saab no matter how much they invest,” John Zeng，a Shanghai-based analyst at J.D. Power & Associates, said in a telephone interview. “Only a big automaker has the means to revive Saab, which is not only debt-ridden but also having problems on their branding and technologies.”
I tend to disagree with that, especially the last part. There are quite a few state of the art technologies like eAAM in Saab. I would not want to see Saab under the roof of a big automaker again as the benefit of independence is the ability to choose different partners when it comes to sourcing technologies (see the BMW engine agreement) When it comes to saving the company what is really needed is a stable partner with deep pockets that can finance the process of building up the company over three to five years. At best, someone like Tata is to Jaguar/Land rover, someone who is providing financing but leaves the strategy of the brand to those who work there as they should know it.
Regardless of a possible new partner Pang Da and Youngman can still be in the picture as partners for distribution and manufacturing in China as this is something that Saab definetely needs. I would imagine that Pang Da would like to get the cars they already paid for. The development of a sub brand for China as it has been mentioned before may be an additional income for Saab. There just can’t be enough things to make money on for Saab.
In the meantime we will again be forced to join the rollercoaster ride as passengers. But as the court decision about reorganization will already be this week I expect many things to happen within the next few days. No need to panic on the home stretch. Just wait and see.