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.