While we are waiting for big news on how things will continue for Saab the press reports coming out right now offer only few new facts. I put together some snippets and added a few comments to express my view.
Sverigesradio features an article that has Guy Lofalk talking a bit more than yesterday:
There is still money in the car manufacturer Saab for continued reconstruction. And so far there is no reason to discontinue the reorganization, said administrator Guy Lofalk.
– Now the Youngman and Pang Da said they will fund the reconstruction. There are of course of course also linked to how this reorganization plan can actually be implemented.
– But as it stands now, we can hold on for a while but it’s certainly not the time we think of but it is to solve the problems we face, says Guy Lofalk in an interview with the Echo, which was made last night.
This is good as far as the reconstruction is financed for now. On how to work on with GM he says:
Guy Lofalk said that the reorganization plan is preliminary.
– There is a preliminary reorganization plan. Since it is a fact that no plan survives contact with reality, but you must adapt.
– Some things might go more quickly and others take longer. But one must at least have a hypothetical plan to work for, otherwise nothing works.
The first thing is therefore to see if you can untie the knot with GM.
– First we investigate if we can get GM to change their minds and what they then require. That’s primarily what we must do now.
But have no reorganization plan had fallen in with GM’s no?
– As I said at the creditors meeting, there are a number of obstacles and there is no reason to draw any hasty conclusions. Of course, the situation is very serious, it is true.
As I said yesterday, he sounds pretty relaxed. The way to go now is surely to find some point where you can hook on at GM and get an impression what you could do. Reading between the lines of what we heared I tend to think that the big issue for GM are Youngman. It’s about IP and Youngman would be the party that benefits from getting access to it, while Pang Da are just about selling cars. So the big question is if getting back to the original plan with Youngman owning 29,9 % of SWAN is enough for GM or if there have to be additional measures to protect IP from being used by other future spin-off brands. Definetely a tough task that has to be done within a week, before the MOU expires.
The fastest way may be if Pang Da and Youngman have direct talks with GM to find out what kind of adaptions could turn a no into a yes. Victor already expressed this hope on Monday (Sverigesradio):
Muller’s hope is that Pang Das and Young’s leadership can go to Detroit and to negotiate with GM.
GM spokesman James Cain said yesterday that the no from GM was only based on the proposal they got, and this was the 100% takeover. To DI.se he declined to comment on direct negotiations:
Have you now been approached by representatives of Saab, Youngman or Pang Da?
“Our discussions have been with Saab since it is the party we have our contract. All ongoing discussions between the companies is something we would regard as confidential.”
But as “no comment” often means yes to me it’s quite likely that those talks are happening. And even for GM there is something to gain from a continued life for Saab. Future supplies of parts and 9-4x and 60 million for its shares may not sound much but it’s still a bit of money. Even for a big player like GM. And it may be a bit about image as they may not want to be the ones who killed Saab. But all of these things will be weighed against the danger of IP loss.
Sure there is still a chance for a totally different solution, a different deal. Replacing Youngman should be difficult in many aspects, with the biggest being NDRC approval. We always have to keep in mind that they are only here because NDRC made them the preferred partner for the Saab deal. So a deal with other parties would most likely be a completely different one.
And even though I believe that behind the scenes many things are happening now we won’t get to know anything until the MOU with Youngman and Pang Da expires on the 15th.
It is not over, it is just tight. As Victor said, it was forseeable that GM would not let this deal pass without raising demands. There is still hope if all involved are willing to dig for the solution or there is a rabbit left. Both scenarios are still possible so let’s keep the faith.
To end those snippets I chose some comments from the new Maud, Annie Lööf, found on ScandAsia.com:
[…] and Lööf said the Swedish government was “acting as a door-opener in the contacts between Chinese authorities and GM.” However, she stressed, “at the end of the day, it is the parties, Saab and the Chinese (firms), who need to reach a deal… Now (Saab’s court-appointed) administrator and the private parties need to sit down at the negotiation table and find a long-term solution for Saab and its employees.”
Thanks Annie. Good to know that you did all you could even though you couldn’t do anything.