In a piece for Aftonbladet today, Robert Collin writes about the events from yesterday. You can read the translation of it here on SU.
Turned down by the Borg – and then stopped the Saab affair
A Chinese financier had 50 million ready – but got up and left instead.
Yesterday at three o’clock, Volvo was to buy Saab.
Then Volvo’s Chinese owner Li Shu Fu meet with Finance Minister Anders Borg at the Finance Ministry in Stockholm.
On Monday, the Chinese would pay 50 million euros in advance of the move.
But instead of Borg [being at the meeting], there was State Secretary Hans Lindblad – [which prompted the] Chinese to leave.
Li Shu Fu’s company Geely was to be the one hundred percent owner of Saab.
At least that was Saab administrator Guy Lofalk plan. Behind the backs of their client, Saab.
But when Anders Borg did not show up yesterday, it left Li Shu Fu cheated, as he got up from the meeting, interrupted the shop and went home to China. All according to Aftonbladet sources.
Like a bad soap opera
The recent business around Saab looks like a poorly written american soap.
For Li Shu Fu was not alone to the Treasury, but in company with Mr. Pang on the big bilhandlarkedjan Pang Da has already shown interest in Saab.
According to Aftonbladet’s sources, it was Guy Lofalk who brought Pang Da with Geely for joining the new operation, behind the back of the Saab owner Antonov and boss Victor Muller, but in agreement with Anders Borg.
The heavy Chinese Economy NDRC, which is in charge of all the major Chinese industrial business, has already given his blessing to another Chinese automakers to enter the Saab – Youngman. But after Lofalk told the Chinese that the Swedish government wants Geely as the owner of Saab, Youngman dropped out [not technically dropped out, more pushed aside temporarily].
Lofalk’s future looks bleak
Whether Geely will get a second chance is uncertain, but Guy Lofalk’s future at Saab looks bleak.
Saab has completely lost confidence in their administrator Guy Lofalk and plan to go to the District Court in Vänersborg on Monday to ask to have him removed.
“Lofalk colluded with the Conservatives in government,” says a source at Saab told Aftonbladet. “He goes along with Anders Borg’s affairs and tried to get rid of Victor Muller and Vladimir Antonov. He doesn’t have Saab’s best interests at heart.”
“We do not comment on internal meetings,” Anders Borg’s press secretary Markus Sjöqvist said that they never commented Anders Borg’s internal meetings.
Aftonbladet has also sought Lofalk for comment, but without success.
This is very troubling that an administrator and minister would go behind the backs of Saab management in such a flagrant way. While I’ve heard many here say that Geely might not be a bad owner, the way that they have done it in such a way that even Geely was troubled by its shady nature really reflects poorly on the Swedish government. I’ll repeat it again: Saab was granted its appeal for reconstruction based on the plan they submitted to the court. That plan was based on a deal with Youngman and Pang Da, not Geely or any other Chinese automaker. For someone to completely usurp that plan flies against the court and should be treated as hostile action. No matter what your thoughts are on Victor, Saab was following a court approved plan that he initiated, and it deserves to follow that plan. I’ll remind everyone here that Youngman is the largest producer of Buses on the planet, and Pang Da is the largest dealer group on the planet– we’re not dealing with some tiny players with small pockets. Geely may own Volvo but they’re hardly one of the largest car producers in China.
72 thoughts on “Robert Collin: “Like a poorly written American soap.””
I wonder if Borg’s state Volvo broke down on the way to the meeting? 🙂
That sound likely to me 🙂
now THAT’s funny =)
The top brass politicians in sweden are hauled mostly in Beemers.. Sadly.
This story takes on the strangest twists. Lets hope some journos nail this rotten story.
But in Sweden politicians never resign even if the do big mistakes. sweden is not like true democracies in this respect.
Depends on the gender. Female ministers are easily kicked out when doing wrong.
I always thought swedish politicians were different, but they look frightening similar to italian ones.
Whatever Borg drives, it doesn’t metter to me and i really hope this Swedish goverement breaks down and will be replaced by people who knows how important the automtive industry at thie moment is and can be for the future!
The heavy Chinese Economy NDRC, which is in charge of all the major Chinese industrial business, has already given his blessing to another Chinese automakers to enter the Saab – Youngman.
This isn’t true. It’s expected in October. Or am I completely lost ?
They gav Youngman the right to negotiat whith Saab, now we wait for the yes for go ahed whith deal.
I agree with your conclusion, Jeff. 100%.
The Swedish government and Mr. Lofalk shouldn’t tell Youngman anything, what they want or not. The deal with Youngman & Pang Da must be allowed to get a decision. Why this sudden hurry? The administrator got more than three weeks from the court, the first meeting with the creditors is 31 Oct.
The Government and the administrator, they’d better behave!
(At the department of Enterprise they have seemed to be very happy about the Geely-Ford-Volvo-deal ever since; the Finance has been very quiet. But there isn’t only one solution to every case. And as you mentioned, Geely isn’t that big, they had to raise funds for the deal with Ford. Some here and elsewhere seem to think they are the best solution, and seem to think that they are very big player. But for goodness’ sake, there hasn’t been any decision yet from the NDRC.)
If this is the way Lofalk treats Saab, he deserves to go. I think, though, that beacause he’s written off two of Saab’s escape routes that Saab is screwed. If I can fight the temptation, I won’t be on this site until next weekend. All of this bad news is pissing me off. I’m taking a mini-vacation until either Lofalk is out of here, Saab is sold, or Saab runs into a mound of cash in their basement.
Bye for a while.
Lofalk should be horsewhipped, hung drawn and quartered then burned at the stake. A disgraceful pig of a human being.
If this report is true then I can only imagine that Lofalk has lost complete confidence in VM. This whole affair is starting too look like a complete scandal and there is a good case for a full enquiry into how it has been managed.
I agree,pretty much sums up my thoughts as well. However, having said that,such conclusion assumes that Lofalk has togheter with Borg acted soley independet based on non facts. I am not in a position to swear that Saab has made their part as well.
So Lofalk must be able to back up his actions othewrise it is more or less “a crime”.
So the dialuge MUST have been:
Lofalk: Ok Saab so youngman will transfer the money to our accounts and YOU will make sure the IP is complete and secured and everyhing is according to the contract.
Saab: we aren’t ready for that yet.
Lofalk:Ok,then i must act upon THAT simple fact.
I know about the NDRC and the timetable etc,but again he needs to do decsion based on facts and i dont know what geely has told him as “facts”
If nothing of the above,and our conclusions is correct,then he made a new direction of the reogranstion based on false assumptions and he could, i guess, somehow be charged.
But the Aftonbladet article made it even more confussing. So the “so called” betrayer (you know who) gets betrayed by his own “boss” which leaves Saab AND Volvo in a bad situation,what gives ?
I have followed the discussions and articles in the past couple of days and despite any conspirasy theories, I think Jeff hit the nail on the head: “Saab was granted its appeal for reconstruction based on the plan they submitted to the court. That plan was based on a deal with Youngman and Pang Da, not Geely or any other Chinese automaker.”
IMHO, the deviation from Saab’s reconstruction plan is a major issue and can hurt Saab in many ways. Just to mention one: If I was Youngman and Pang Da, I would have lost any confidence in the Swedish legal system and I would rethink my engangement in Saab.
Exactly. Two weeks into reconstruction, that’s quick, if the above mentioned is true, the administrator turns 90 degrees and deviates from the plan presented to the court. Why all this trouble then, with the appeal etc. if the plan isn’t worth one iota?
ANA mentioned one possible cause, above; Lofalk doesn’t trust the plan (or VM) (the conspiracists might say that he got instructions to disregard the plan, but that is so unbelievable…). So, how come Lofalk doesn’t trust the plan, was he in a position to get first hand information from the NDRC? I can’t imagine that.
“was he in a position to get first hand information from the NDRC?”
Well,at least he was in a position to get first hand information from Saab itself. Again,if there are ny internal hiccups (that leads to problems with fullfilling the contract withing the time table) within the org he has acted based on that. We dont know what action lead to another. Did lofalk action lead to that Saab was unable to transfer the IP and get the money or was the incomplete transfer of IP an action followed by a geely story etc.
We are missing a lot of information in this story. The only thing we know is
1. Youngman has not paid the money,for whatever reason that might be
2. Saab says Lofalk has turned the direction and not follow the plan.
Both are bad!
What is honor and what is legal is two different things. The best and most worthy would be to follow the reorgansiation plan. If there are any problems then he is action for whatever he belives is the best,not matter if it saves Saab as we know it.
“We are missing a lot of information in this story.”
True. And I agree with you.
But I think he deviated very quickly from the plan; true, the administrator is the one supposed to keep things going during the reconstruction – and Saab needed the bridge loan during the reconstruction, so, perhaps that was it, he couldn’t wait.
“But I think he deviated very quickly from the plan;”
Yes and i agree that this rapid movement is indeed strange for us.Do you,or any one else,know if Geely needs to a NDRC approval for overtaking a legal units,such as Saab or can Saab become a legal part of Volvo and such overriding the approval process??
I dont see the real difference of searching for XXXXX Volvo employees in Sweden (which we know Volvo is trying to do and without any chinese approvls) or buying a legal unit (Saab) to achive the “same goal”.
There is something that makes his article confusing.
How could the Swedish gov sell 100% of Saab if they don’t own 100% of Saab?
Would Geely just steal Saab from Swan? As a shareholder of Swan I would NOT appreciate that.
The government is trying to take over the EIB loan, thus becoming a stakeholder. Crazy stuff.
Yes, but that would not make them own 100% of Saab and yet Collin says that Geely tried to buy 100% from the gov.
This is simply too bizarre for words.
I’m with you at this point.
I have enough of the Swedish goverement. If this things is more or less true, it all is a big scandal for both Saab and Volvo. People around the world will not think we have a democratic system any more, but rules is just up to people like Anders Borg and Fredrik Reinfeldt. I think this will come up very big on Monday and I want to hear a lot from Socialdemokraterna and Hakan Juholt. This is a very sad situation for Sweden.
Juholt is in a bad position for claiming against the “managers” of Sweden, due to his own situation with illegal housing contribution.
Hope his colleagues will give them (Borg and Co) a correct “fight” anyway.
This is definitely a case for the political court (konstitutionsutskottet).
Let Saab go ahead with Pang Da and Youngman, without klafoL yuG.
I am not saying that nothing is going in behind the stage but there are a number of strange statements in this story:
1. “On Monday, the Chinese would pay 50 million euros in advance of the move.” – Shouldn’t the Chinese authority approve every such transaction? Or is it so that Geely has got the green light to buy SAAB? Aren’t Youngman/Pang Da fighting a lost battle then? Personally I don’t believe that any word is true.
2. “But when Anders Borg did not show up yesterday, it left Li Shu Fu cheated, as he got up from the meeting, interrupted the shop and went home to China. All according to Aftonbladet sources.” – Imagine that you want to invest 50 million euros in a company, everything has already been agreed, you traveled half of the world and then instead of minister you meet the state secretary. Then you step up and go. I guess you are to be diagnosed then! This looks like C-movie, and definitely not behavior that a Chinese would do, no matter how high placed you are. If you are so interested in the affair you would crawl in order to get it and definitely will not play this macho pride game!
3. “For Li Shu Fu was not alone to the Treasury, but in company with Mr. Pang on the big bilhandlarkedjan Pang Da has already shown interest in Saab.” – If this is true then it is definitely bye-bye to Youngman. Here we are talking of Lofalk’s betrayal. If this is not knife- stubbing-in-your-partner’s-back then I don’t know what it is?
4. “According to Aftonbladet’s sources, it was Guy Lofalk who brought Pang Da with Geely for joining the new operation, behind the back of the Saab owner Antonov and boss Victor Muller, but in agreement with Anders Borg” – Crucial sentence in proving how bad this story is.VA is not SAAB’s owner, I think that even birds here in Sweden know that. God knows where this story came from!!!
5. “The heavy Chinese Economy NDRC, which is in charge of all the major Chinese industrial business, has already given his blessing to another Chinese automakers to enter the Saab – Youngman. But after Lofalk told the Chinese that the Swedish government wants Geely as the owner of Saab, Youngman dropped out” – My God how mighty this guy Lofalk is!!!! He might even be able to persuade Chinese to help Greek economy and save the Euro. Also they are considering free elections next year following Lofalk’s advice!
6. “Lofalk colluded with the Conservatives in government,” says a source at Saab told Aftonbladet. “He goes along with Anders Borg’s affairs and tried to get rid of Victor Muller and Vladimir Antonov. He doesn’t have Saab’s best interests at heart” – Again VA mentioned here. I thought that VA has given up and suddenly he is SAAB’s owner here.
For me this is pretty bad complot article and the language reminds me of VA’a Swedish representative Lars “big mouth” Carlstrom.
You seem to have a pretty big mouth as well, don’t you? 😉
1. “On Monday, the Chinese would pay 50 million euros in advance of the move.” – Shouldn’t the Chinese authority approve every such transaction?
Above a certain amount – it is $100 million; roughly 75 MEUR, I think; thus 50 MEUR is less, if my assumption is true.
The 50 M euro was supposed to be a first payment, the total amount would be larger and therefore it would need to be approved.
That’s what I meant. There is a limit, not that they would need approval of “every such transaction”.
Tripod, you are probably right about the limit and I writing too quickly made mistake in formulation with “every such transaction”, but you and most of the readers know what I meant to say: that Geely like every other Chinese company needs NDRC approval! But I believe that even if they can legally transfer 50 million euro to Sweden, they would have a word or two with the Chinese authorities explaining why hey did such move spending in principal government money on an affair which has not got OK.
Speechless ! Criminals in pine stripe suits, do they think they can act however they want ? Come on Swedes, this Government represents your country and is a picture of your election. Do you really want those people ?Where is the political opposition?
I live in Sweden and I really don’t want this people. I want Socialdemokraterna back and I hope to hear a lot from the political opposition on Monday.
All the best for you from Monday on ! I am really upset.
But Håkan Juholt, leader of the Social Democrats, is in a bad situation himself because of the too high contribution he has recieved for his apartment in Stockholm. In Sweden members of parliament get their costs for an extra apartment in the Stockholm area covered, but Håkan Juholt has got SEK 160,000 (about $ 23,000 or € 18,000) more than he should over the recent years.
Well, if this is true it´s called “minister styre” ( Ministerial government(google trans) and it´s forbidden in Sweden. Someone in the other partys has to file a complaint to the konstitutions utskottet to make this come to the surface.
But i can promise here and now to the Saab community that i will never vote for the Moderaterna again as long Borg and Reinfeldt is in charge there….never!!!
It’s common to hear economic analysts complain of the lack of transparency in government circles, or of the key role of power relationships as opposed to rule of law in the courts. The complaints are usually about China or Russia. For this to be playing out in Sweden of all places is a major embarrassment. People flying into town with suitcases full of money to swing secret deals with government officials reminds me of the Godfather.
I don’t think that Sw. Gouv. really has a plan to save Saab with Geely. They just want to get rid of Saab now. Othewise, why G Lofalk would have made everything to make sure that Youngman and Pang Da drop out the deal. Every one (the chinese Youngman, Pang Da and even Geely) is now confused and it’s higly probable that the NDRC will not upon this story give a “yes”.
Another explanation of Lofalk’s behaviour could be that sw. gouv. has already been informed by diplomatic sources that the answer from NDRC for the deal Youngman-Pang Da would be a “no” and therefore sw. gouv. secretly asked Lofalk to try to find quickly another buyer (geely), but I am very doubtful about this possible version.
And Nobody says anything about Pang Da?? What confidence could have SAAB management when they participate in this “conspiracy”(or something like that)
These actions from the Government is closing to criminal behaviour from a constitutional point-of-view.
Still no mentioning of this affair on DI.se – weird. Probably because of their close relation to the ruling party. Looks to me like virtual censorship of anything that looks bad for the government..
Je ne peut pas croire en une trahison du gouvernement SAAB va etre massacré et le titre va etre massacré
Vous verrez ce que les politiciens suédois peuvent faire contre leur propre peuple. A Stockholm, au musée, nous avons une guillotine inutilisés qui fonctionne 😉
Pardonnez une pauvre française…
From a Belgian point of view this looks very bad. Here in Belgian we know a lot of poor politicians, bad (no) government, internal arrangements…don’t know where this will end.
But if you consider that the swedisch government did zero to save Saab and that right now as things seems to be a little bit better, do everthing to make people withdraw from Saab, it becomes very difficult to see anything succeed. Hope I’m wrong !!!!
To quote the great Ronald Reagan: The problem with Government is…
http://www.automotorsport.se is reporting abut it
Well, if this drama causes death of SAAB, then we all around should run compaing, just not “Save SAAB”, but “Disgrace to Swedish Government for killing SAAB”. They should know that everyone eyes is on this drama and if it won’t work out successfuly for SAAB, then they are going to be damned for what they did all around the world.
…with one big difference. Politicians are like cats, they have seven lives and when the fall then it’s always on their feet. Maybe a little injured they retire but a few years later they are back on the scene and everybody has forgotten what they did ….to Saab.
And in the meantime they continue to get a lot of €€€ from their political partie… unfortunately the Saab community (dealers, employees, workers ets.) aren’t as lucky!
Merci à tous le monde pour vos conseil et vos analyse , le gouvernement va t’il réagir a ces vrai rumeur, ? ou a t’il une autre carte joker ? ou la mort dans l’ame ces la FIN ? merci de vos conseil
just wait and see 😉 I guess nobody here knows anything.
Of course Geely wants to buy SAAB. They’ve just decided to close down Volvos convertible plant, so they might need a replacemenmt for that 😉
Personally, I doubt that such huge deals are made within a minute and than dropped in the next minute, for whatever reason. I rather guess that there should have been a get-to-know meeting between Geely and the Swedish government, probably arranged by one Lofalk. But when Geely learned that 1) the minister doesn’t have time to talk (doesn’t care) and 2) the Swedish government currently doesn’t own a single bit of SAAB, Geely immediately left Stockholm.
Let’s keep realistic and await the Chinese authorities decision(s). If they decide a NO, then the negotiations have to start over. Wouldn’t Geely have to follow the same procedure as PangDa/Youngman?
A corrupt African dictator would have been proud of how Lofalk tried to screw Saab! The SweGov has blood on its hands.
The s**t is well and truly going to hit the fan now!!!
NEW SCRIPT for MONDAY AM:
Finance Minister Anders Borg makes & Li Shu Fu statement & amended script……:
There has been some confusion over the weekend, as to what has happened.
I had a [illegal] telephone conversation with Li Shu Fu [Geely] & we were laughing a bit, I said as a Joke why don’t you bring 50mil Euros to my Hotel room & we can do a deal on SAAB.
Li Shu Fu thinks now he misinterpreted Finance Minister Anders Borg, he said it as a joke, I thought he was serious.
That’s why I, Li Shu Fu, stormed out in a huff. Yes of course, The joke was on me, BUT these Poliiicans think they rule, But I’ll show them…..Oh, yes I will, taking the piss out of me, I’ll Show them
Li Shu Fu meet & Finance Minister Anders Borg have decided to call off theirMarriage.
Guy Lofalk said, I am just disappointed, a bit, as I really wanted to wear something daring at the marriage, as bridesmaid> =little girls to the bride in pretty dresses ]
Oh, and VM was not invited, as we didn’t want him signing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBDa0e9CLuY
They all run for cover & denial:
”Strangest of all: the deal was made behind the back of their Saab administrator Guy Lofalk”.
” Aftonbladet engine editor Robert Collin was stumbling near the Saab on Friday (October 7) was sold to Volvo owners, Chinese Geely…>>> On the bottle [Pissed] again!!
THEY ARE ALL RUNNING FOR COVER
It`s a sorry state of affair. There should be a big protest on Monday including the local press, politician and city officials from Trollhätten and scream their heads off at the mess happening before their eyes. My heart goes out to the employees and all the great people at Saab for having to go through this rollercoaster of affairs. The whole area or district should go out on the steets and demonstrate their disapproval of this sorry situation.
Listen. I would take the Swedish Government and their politicians over Obama anytime. Believe me there is no one worse than him and his cronies right now.
What could be worse. I had to put up with the union shenanigans here in Wisconsin for the past 9 months. We have had the Arab Spring, Tent City in Israel and now the Lunies on Wall Street.
Right now the only thing that makes sense is for the SAAB workers and their union to board Scania and Volvo buses and head down to protest outside the Riksdag, soon before it is time to put on the Hakkapeliittas! I will be stunned if they stand idly by. In January 2010 I stood outside GM in Detroit for 4 hrs in the bitter cold. It only October, but the clock is ticking too fast.
This for once, would whole heartedly support.
I agree. We have to organize a massive protest in Sweden with placards, billboards etc. I have experience
in this , but can’t travel to Sweden. I’ve been in peaceful marches on the streets of Houston, Minneapolis and Chicago among others, but I don’t do it anymore. Hold up billboards along the street for motorists to read. Oh by the way, I was at the Mineshaft restaurant last year but did not know the 1,000,000 mile Saab was across the street in the museum.
What’s so bad about unions? they helped build the middle class? By the way I applaud the Wall Street protestors. They are tired of the corporate greed as with most americans. Wall Street caused the financial causes in 08 and people still want to blame the middle class for it while they let wall street get off free,thats bull crap.
Listen I would take Obama any day over the republicans thank you. They are the ones that keep blocking his jobs bill and you people still refuse to see the republicans are mean and only care about the corporations and the rich instead of the middle class.
Is it time for support convoys, e-mails or something else ? We can show that we are aware of these odd behaviors and that enough is enough.
And also, I was wondering if we should write an open letter of support to Youngman. If they are offended by Lofalk’s activity, maybe we could counter that with a show of support.
Unfortunately in business I don’t know if that counts for anything 🙂 …but… I trust the guys here at SaabsUnited. We’ve asked if it’s the right time to show our support. I believe if comes to that then they will let us know where to concentrate our efforts.
Doesn’t anyone (the powers that be), have a direct line to Victor Muller? We need to find out from him what’s going on.
Victor is a very very busy guy, and while it’s nice to have him speaking publicly to calm the mood, realize he has a full plate to deal with. He’s still traveling a ridiculous amount (crisscrossing the Atlantic recently) and has a family. Meanwhile, he has a hostile reconstruction coming at him from multiple angles. It’s almost too much to take. Victor knows our concern is that he just sort out this mess first, then let us know the outcome.
Strange drama, something that could compete with Kafta!
But who the heck is the director, then?
I don’t know how bankruptcy or reorganizations work in Sweden, but in the US, once a trustee is appointed, it is the obligation of the trustee to represent the creditors’ interests and not the interests of the bankrupt/debtor/mangement. In the US, many times the trustee will look to other sources of income to reorganize the company because these other sources provide a better opportunity for the creditors to recoup their loss. In the US, many times trustees will find new management. In the US when there is a reorganization, most of the shareholders lose their investments and management loses control of the company.
If Sweden works the same way, the trustee may indeed be legally obligated to have a “hostile” reorganization, and if such is the obligation, there would be no illegality at all. If the trustee deems a Geely purchase would help the creditors more than a Pang Da/Youngman purchase, he might well be obligated to press for a Geely purchase as being in the creditors’ best interest.
And if Swedish reorganization is similar to reorganization in the US, VM would lose control of the right to reorganize as he wishes.
As for the government ministers, they have the obligation to do whatever they can to minimize loss to the government. So since the Swedish government is a creditor of Saab, the government ministers owe the citizenry the obligation of getting the best buyer possible. If the ministers think Geely is the most qualified buyer, they probably have an obligation to the citizens to help Geely buy the company, if possible, and that probably includes making that recommendation to the court.
The trustee is obligated to consider all offers to buy the company. Just because a purchase plan was initially approved by the court, if the court is later presented with a better plan by another buyer, the court can reverse its initial decision and approve the better plan.
One more thing…
If Sweden’s reorganization “administrator” position is like a “trustee” in US reorganization, then Lofalk does not represent Saab, he represents the creditors, and he would not be “going behind Saab’s back.”
In the US, getting a trustee removed is not easy. The debtors usually do not like the trustees, but that is because debtors usually learn later on (or the hard way) that the trustees are not looking out for the debtors but instead are looking out for the creditors.
Thanks for explaining.That could explain a few things. (Although not changing my feelings that Youngman seems like the better choice for Saab. 🙂 )
Yes but if you are the creditors, they are more concerned about what is best for them (especially if they are trying to get out — like GM, EIB and Swedish Government).
I have an idea just put the whole company up for sale? seems logical especially since their are investors interested.
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