Friday Morning Snippets

Saab GB are printing their own money…..

Saab GB promotion

It’s been sent out to existing Saab customers as an incentive to come in and take delivery prior to December 31st (thus beating the VAT rise).

I think it’s brown because it’s a subliminal message – you want the Java. You need the Java….

——

Bard Eker (one of the partners in the Koenigsegg Group) recently said that he’s launching a slow but hostile takeover of Saab, even if he has to buy it one car at a time.

I shot him an email to check the context and he said “We have started the process. Cvk purchased his second Saab…. – and I am still fully occupied with [teaching] my little 1.5 yr daughter how to drive her first – of many to come – Saab.”

Can we look forward to young Ms Eker taking a seat on the board some time soon?

🙂

——

Arild loves the Head Up Display. In fact, as I did on my own test drive of the Saab 9-5, he’s finding it indispensable.

Pierre doesn’t love the wood interior.

——

And finally….

Saab rally legend Per Eklund was interviewed at Rally America last weekend, where he was keeping an eagle eye on (winning) protege, Toomas Haikkinen

Click here for the video.

Bard Eker appears on Norwegian Swedish TV

An interview with Bard Eker has just been shown on Swedish television program Skavlan. You can see the interview here (in some freaking language I don’t understand). Naturally, the conversation turned to Saab at one point.
Peter has been kind enough to provide a translation of one particular exchange (and thanks to several others who emailed me about it, too)
——
BarDekerSkevlan.jpg – Is there a (measuring with fingers) tiny chance that you will try again? Saab is not sold yet…
Eker – (smiling) Let’s see… maybe.
*cheering crowd*
Eker – Honestly, we haven’t been thinking about it, but we’ll see. Maybe there is a chance, maybe we will get a phonecall.
– So it really isn’t sure that you will not be trying to take the chance again?
Eker – Ehh… (laughing)… how long time is it left of the show? Could I use the phone? (more laughing from Eker, and sheering from the audience)
——
It’s interesting now that the Koenigsegg deal has fallen over that the Swedish government now appear to be pulling out all the stops to try and help with a Saab sale.
Maud Olofsson herself met with EU representatives today to press home the urgency of getting a final decision from them quickly on the satisfactory nature of the loan guarantees offered by the Swedes (this is a necessary part of the EIB loan process).
If Maud had done that three weeks ago, perhaps we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in now.
I retain my hope that Koenigsegg Group can come back to the table.

Friday morning snippets

There’s plenty going on in the background, I can tell you that. Meetings here there and everywhere.
——
Further to the stuff that I wrote about the EIB loan earlier today….from realtid.se

EIB’s decision to loan to Saab of 400 million still applies, says EIB Eva Srejber to Realtid.se. Koenigsegg-defection alters nothing – but a new analysis should be done.

They do mention that an analysis of the new ownership structure would have to be done, but theoretically, the loan decision could be maintained based on the plans already submitted by Saab.
——
I’m told that Jan-Ake Jonsson will be giving a prepared speech at an event this afternoon. The event was organised some time ago and some thought recent events might mean a cancellation from JAJ. Not so.
TTELA will be there, so you can check them out this evening to see what Jan-Ake has to say.
——
There is a Saab leadership meeting on as I write this. I interrupted Eric Geers on the phone as he was on his way in there. He had time to confirm that there has already been interest expressed in buying Saab from previously interested parties.
I imagine there will be a few of those meetings over the next few days.
You can picture yourself what will be on the agenda for that, but I’d guess positioning the company for a new buyer and enlisting government help in the interim – and in discussions with GM over the next few days – would be pretty high up there.
——
Bard Eker has shown considerable contrition since the KG deal fell over.
Not only did he go to the factory with CvK yesterday and offer himself for a decent beating should the workers choose to do so, he also placed an order for a 9-3 convertible while he was there.
This is a man with some serious regrets about what’s happened. One gets the impression that he was really into this.
——
I heard from a dealer in Europe today, with regard to the new Saab 9-5. He took orders for 5 sales of the new 9-5 – and all of those were in just one day.
Saab and GM just have to find a way to get this done.
——
Just in case you all forgot what this is all about – Saab make cars.
This is one of the best of them:
900CV-4.jpg
You might remember the 700hp Saab 99 that got a lot of coverage on the internets a few weeks ago. The guy who wrote the big English language story on that car was young bloke named James Mackintosh, on a website called CarThrottle.
James is the owner of a very nice Saab 900 and he’s just started a personal website to over his adventures with the car.
The convertible, above, is not his car (though he wishes it was) but it is for sale and featured on the site. Check them both out here: Saabsnaab.com
——
Feel better. Feel good. Feel wonderful.

Eker Speaks on the Koenigsegg withdrawal

Thanks to Börjesson in comments.
From TTELA
——
Unfortunately, we have to do this. It is sad, but we’ve realised that we can’t make it in time. There’s too little time to close the deal, says Bård Eker, part owner of Koenigsegg Group through his company Eker Group.
Like Christian von Koenigsegg, he mentions that the 30th of November was the crucial date. That was when the puzzle had to be complete.
– For the company (Saab) to live on, we had set that date. The date was a milestone, and we won’t reach it.
How do you account for the delay? Everybody knew that it was a complex affair?
– Maybe we haven’t conveyed the complexity of the affair clearly enough. There have been six, seven different constellations that had to move at the same pace. We have to take responsibilty that we weren’t diligent enough in conveying the message that we are short of time. – And if we can’t catch up, then Saab dies.
You don’t see any other possibility for Saab?
– Unfortunately, that’s what we see is going to happen, says Bård Eker.
Is there any other potential buyer now that you drop out?
– I wish I could have answered yes to that question, but unfortunately I’m not aware of any other.
——
So why November 30?
GM set a date of December 31. Why November 30?
What’s the condition here?

Koenigsegg Group may not get full EIB loans

When Bard Eker let slip some comments earlier this week, it sounded like there was trouble because of some backroom dealings involving Mark Bishop and a cast of other shady characters.

Eker claimed he was mis-quoted and we covered the topic extensively here at SU, but maybe the urgency of his concerns was more related to this issue of EIB loans.

First reported in DI.se and covered also by Reuters, we learn the following:

Ailing Swedish car firm Saab, being sold by General Motors [GM.UL], may not get the full 4.3 billion Swedish crown ($612 million) loan it has asked for from the European investment Bank (EIB), daily Dagens Industri wrote on Tuesday, quoting an unnamed source.

The loan is key to plans by luxury car maker Koenigsegg to buy Saab, but the EIB is doubtful whether some of the group’s projects to develop environmentally friendly technology are within its remit for lending. The EIB could lend Saab much less than the car maker wants, the paper wrote.

“There are questions about whether a number of development projects fit with the EIB’s rules for lending,” the paper quoted a source with insight into the process saying.

As you know, these EIB funds are crucial to this deal going through. Koenigsegg Group signed a share purchase agreement with General Motors to purchase Saab but one of the conditions attached to that agreement with the successful application for this loan.

What happens to the deal if the amount is reduced is a question I’m a little fearful of contemplating at this point in time. It’d be difficult for the deal to proceed and with a GM deadline of December 31 hanging over Saab’s head, well, things wouldn’t look good.

——

Even if Koenigsegg get the loan guarantees and the loan that they’re after, it could be some time before the funds come through.

From SvD and translated by ctm:

Since Koenigsegg Group submitted its loan application for 400 million euros, the European Investment Bank, EIB, has worked on evaluating it. In about three weeks time, on October 21, the EIB will make a decision – yes or no. But this applies only at further detailed negotiations. This means that Koenigsegg Group and Saab may have to wait for the money until next year.

– “The Board may, in October, give its approval for a continuation of detailed negotiations on financial contracts, but I can not say how long it takes before any money can be paid out. It can take months,” says Eva Srejber, Vice President at the EIB.

And then there’s the ever-present Joran Hagglund from the Ministry of Industry:

According to Jöran Hägglund, the business plan has been stress tested on several occasions, which means testing it under different economic conditions. But he would not respond to what stress tests have shown so far.

The EIB demands that any loan will contribute to better environmental technologies and road safety. Currently, the EIB looks at the business plan and makes a thorough review. The government believes it is important that Saab can be competitive in a number of markets in order to guarantee the loan.

– “Our starting-point is that we will be finished with our work and make an agreement with Koenigsegg [Group] before the bank makes its decision three weeks from now.”

——

Christian von Koenigsegg remained cautiously positive yesterday, saying that talks remain positive on acquiring the loans and guarantees, and that their plan is still to finalise the deal by the end of October.

When it’s reporters talking amongst themselves and theorising, I don’t mind taking them on and trying to maintain some perspective and positivity. But the amount of smoke emanating from Sweden right now would tend to indicate that they are treading a very fine line.

Christian von Koenigsegg speaks: Eker, the Saab deal and BAIC

It’s good to see Christian von Koenigsegg in the media today, especially given the recent articles out of Norway that cast some doubts over the whole deal.

CvK has done a brief interview with Sweden’s SvD news service, which has been translated for our benefit by ctm.

In the interview, he talks about the work they’re doing, the speculations, the group and a little about the partnership with Beijing Automotive.

Enjoy…..

——

“Saab a major sacrifice”

Far from a finalized deal. Christian von Koenigsegg, CEO Koenigsegg Group, denies the rumors of trouble in the group of investors that are to take over Saab Automobile from GM. But the protracted affair is starting to affect the CEO.

– “It is a great sacrifice of time, money, resources, and brands,” he told SvD Näringsliv.

It is evident that the past so enthusiastic entrepreneurs behind Koenigsegg Group no longer manages to always keep up the positive attitude. This weekend Bård Eker, the Norwegian businessman and owner of the Koenigsegg Group, went out in the Norwegian media and talked about an ongoing ownership split in the group that could threaten the whole affair. But according to Christian von Koenigsegg, who talked with Bård Eker, he is misquoted in the newspapers.

– “There is absolutely no fight amongst the owners in the Koenigsegg Group.”

Bård Eker said that ‘if not everything is in place by Wednesday, we are out.’ But where he or the newspapers got Wednesday as the end date is something Christian von Koenigsegg do not know.

– “What we’ve noticed with this deal is that it is very media intense and arouses a huge interest. We can not go out and talk about the details on a daily basis. We need to focus on our deal,” he says and believes that it leaves some room for speculations and misunderstandings.

There are still a number of parallel processes running. Among other things, there is the important loan of just over 4 billion SEK from the European Investment Bank, EIB, in about three weeks time. First, however, the National Debt Office must provide a loan guarantee to the EIB.

– “Both the bank and the Debt Office receives constant information from us and Saab on what happens, and we respond to their questions when they request more information.”

Although there are many milestones left, Koenigsegg Group looks at them as formalities. Christian von Koenigsegg stresses that all parties involved have the same goal of bringing the deal together at the end of October or early November.

He, who previously sounded so hopeful and so positive, is a little bit more stressed today but do not think the Koenigsegg Group will pull out of the deal.

– “I would not say. But then we have the situation that the conditions have to be sufficiently interesting for us to make the deal. It is a great sacrifice of time, money, resources, and brands,” he says, but points out that they have come a long way so far and that conditions are ‘reasonable’.

Have the conditions changed lately?

– That I would not say either, but it is a negotiation between different parties and everyone have to agree. It is a process that requires a lot of resources,” he says, adding that they are on the track.

The loan that Saab needs from the EIB is mainly intended for new environmental technologies. Without going into details about what environmental technologies the company will develop, Christian von Koenigsegg says that it is an important part of the business plan that the group has presented and that is now being evaluated by the EIB.

Koenigsegg Group has signed a letter of intent with Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings, BAIC, on having them as a minority owner of the Koenigsegg Group to cover up the missing part of the capital needed. But the size of BAIC’s interest is still unclear.

– “We have not gone out with a precise number. It is important to note that they are minority shareholders. They can not control Koenigsegg Group in any way, but they are a partner with the rest of us,” says Christian von Koenigsegg, who do not want to say if BAIC has covered the 3 billion SEK previously missing according to estimates.

– “The fact that 3 billion SEK is missing does not come from us. We said that we saw a bit missing in the business plan which was around 30 percent and we saw the need for multiple parties to solve it. And the parties were GM, Koenigsegg Group, and the government – but the government declined, and then we found the third partner in the BAIC.”

——

Thanks again to ctm!

Eker: Misquoted. All apparently goes well with Saab and Koenigsegg

If we’ve learned anything through this whole Saab-sale experience, it’s that newspapers can write damning and downright incorrect stories about the Saab sale, get away with almost zero reputational damage and get themselves a whole lot of coverage around the world (don’t underestimate the hunger for inbound links when it comes to online reporting).

Norwegian newpaper, DN.no, caused a storm overnight when they claimed a whole bunch of backroom deals were in progress between Mark Bishop and some Eastern European mafia types. All this despite the fact that Bishop has been reported previously to no longer own any shares in Koenigsegg Group.

It’s an interesting situation, this one. DN.no’s story is so far removed from what’s been reported so far that it either has to be true (with KG feeding us a bunch of BS for the last few months), or it’s a total and mischevious fabrication. Given that they seem to be relying on the word of a guy they damn for being a convicted felon, I’m betting on the latter.

<<UPDATE – ‘Oddjob’ has sent me a good, edited translation from the original article, which I’ve added in full at the end of this editorial>>

I’m working from a GoogleTrans, but DN.no seem to be saying the following:

  • Bishop was the ideas man when it came to the takeover of Saab, enlisting the help of Koenigsegg and others in the process.
  • Koenigsegg’s record of Bishop’s departure states that it was a mutual shareholder decision, citing negative publicity surrounding his stake in the group
  • DN.no say that in reality, he was ‘thrown out’ of the group when they became fearful of his connections and intentions to get some shady Russian figures involved in the deal.
  • DN.no have some quotes from Eker, saying that the board was ‘terrified’ and had to get Mark out. They also quote Eker as saying that if all funding issues aren’t sorted by this Wednesday, September 30, then the group will pull the pin on the whole transaction

They also claim that Bishop has engaged a guy who is a convicted fraudster, a guy by the name of Thomas Øye, to sell his shares in Koenigsegg Group. This is despite the fact that they quote Bishop himself (after saying he declined comment) as saying that he has no shares to sell.

Thomas Øye claims that he has been asked Bishop to sell the shares, and it’s this conflict in answers that seems to be the basis for the whole story. When in doubt, err on the side of the fraudster with a story to tell.

——

This story got picked up by Dagens Industri in Sweden and it took off from there. I posted a translation of the DI.se story on the site last night before crashing to a jetlagged night’s sleep.

I contacted Saab for a comment on it and this morning received a brief “all continues according to plan” reply, which is about as much as could reasonably be expected. If they had to provide detailed responses on every theory posed by the nordic press, they’d never get any work done.

——

For his part, Bard Eker has said to Auto Motor and Sport that he was mis-quoted in the original DN.no article, and as with Saab, he says that all is proceeding according to plan.

Editors of Auto Motor & Sport have been in contact with Bård Eker on Saturday morning and then been told to work with Saab affair continues according to plan. Bard Eker claims to be misquoted and has nothing further to add at this time.

——

Christian von Koenigsegg has also said the same to Reuters:

Koenigsegg’s top executive said on Saturday the luxury sport scar maker still aimed to finalize a deal to buy Saab Automobile from General Motors (GM.UL) by the end of October.

Koenigsegg Chief Executive and part owner Christian von Koenigsegg also told Reuters that good progress was being made in talks to secure Swedish state guarantees for billions of crowns of loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

“Our deadline for the deal still remains the end of October as we have previously said,” he said.

——

The thing that tips my opinion in favour of a DN.no beat-up is the fact their story seems to ignore a few things.

It ignores, for example, the change in ownership structure with 42% of the Koenigsegg Group now being owned by Augie Fabela’s Solsken company.

It ignores the addition of Beijing Automotive to the financial structure, which has taken the heat out of the transaction in terms of funds required.

These are pretty large things to ignore. When you need a story and you’ve got a source (Øye) willing to say something, even if it’s in contradiction to statements made by the key person concerned (Bishop) then I guess the story’s too inviting to be ignored.

It’s little wonder the Koenigsegg people are reluctant to do interviews with the Scandinavian press at the moment. I imagine they’ll be more forthcoming when the deal is done and the real work begins.

——

Following is a full edited GoogleTrans from the original DN.no article. My thanks to ‘Oddjob’ for sending it through….

Hidden games can overturn Saab Agreement

HIDDEN GAME: They were to save the Swedish car maker Saab from bankruptcy. Wednesday can be the fairytale end

The shy loan shark Mark Bishop was the brain behind Saab’s rescue operation. Then he was thrown out of a collaboration with Koenigsegg group. In the quiet, he has initiated a financial game around Koenigsegg that can topple the entire Saab Agreement. The job gave him the fraud convicted ex x megleren Thomas Eye, newspaper Dagens Næringsliv on Saturday.

In May this year a group Koenigsegg enthusiasts found company Koenigsegg Group ab. The company consists of Christian von Koenigsegg, the Norwegian industrial designer Bård Eker, the U.S. Telecom billionaire Augie Fable II and Mark Bishop. Bishop is the company’s second-largest shareholder, with 22 percent.

16. June comes the message that will surprise the entire European automotive industry: Koenigsegg Group enters into an agreement with General Motors to buy Saab.

Spider

When Mark Bishop comes to Sweden, he takes his role as the automotive industry’s Greta Garbo.

He says not a word in the media. He evade photographers and get nicknames like “Saab-ghost” and “Spider.”

Both Saab and the Swedish government, said they know nothing about him. The media speculates in if he has any money at all. “We do not know much about Mark Bishop, but we will make a further investigation if it is appropriate in state loan guarantees,” says the Swedish Ministry of Economics in June.

They did not have to investigate him. On 25 June the board of Koenigsegg Group ab was gathered in Gothenburg. The partners have decided to kick Bishop. The board report gives the following explanation:

“Mark Bishop has been bombarded with negative press both in Sweden and the United States. A majority of the Directors has determined that these negative testimonials, may interfere with the ongoing transaction. To ensure that such attempts to interfere with the Saab transaction does not adversely affect the Koenigseggs efforts to implement Mark’s original goal to help Trollhättan community by putting together a group of investors to buy the Saab, the shareholders have agreed that he should resign from the board of Koenigsegg Group. ”

On the same day disappear Mark Bishop’s stake from Koenigsegg Groups share register.

Investors from Eastern Europe

But the story of Mark Bishop’s hasty departure is more than what is recorded in board minutes. Koenigsegg Board is aware that Bishop has contacts with “investors” from Eastern Europe who are trying to get into the Saab-trade. The Eastern Europeans wants to join in as shareholders. Bishops contacts scares Koenigsegg board. The board fears it may be about the Russian mafia, and concludes that the Bishops contacts can ruin the whole project. He must be sacrificed.

– Several of the board was completely terrified. Those of us who have done business in Russia before, knew how this can come to end. Either we had to cancel the whole project, or Mark had to be out, “says Bård Eker to DN.

Bishop has not answered any questions about this from Dagens Næringsliv.

Ex-broker

Today, Bishop jobs for the Canadian Fund Omniarch, which buys residential debt for a low price. Omniarch is also a company that former stockbroker Thomas Eye know well. Eye has a very doubtful reputation because of his grey-market adventures and personal bankruptcy. He is convicted for fraud of five million from NOKAS David Toska.

Recently, the emigrated Thomas Eye worked to set up a new fund for Omniarch. In the late summer of this year, Mark Bishop visited Thomas Eye in his home in Marbella, Spain. Bishop givesThomas Eye a mission: Sell the 20 percent stake in Koenigsegg Group.

Half price

The Norwegian brokerage Carnegie has a time worked to bring investors to the new company, and in an investor presentation appreciates the Koenigsegg Group to one billion dollars if the purchase is in order – a so-called “pre-money valutation”.

If the new Saab comes into operation, and lives up to the new owners’ expectations, Carnegie values the company to 2.6 billion dollars. Koenigsegg-founders will eventually be left with 50 percent of the shares Saab, after the DN experience. If they succeed, the Koenigsegg-founders have shares in Saab to a value of 1.3 billion U.S. dollars – almost ten billion NEK.

But Mark Bishop has no time to wait for a possible breakthrough.

In early September, Thomas Eye offered investors 20 percent of the Koenigsegg group for 60 million dollars. This is almost half the price of the Carnegie appreciation of the Koenigsegg share. Later the price drops to 30 million.

– Do not know Eye

Despite the fact that DN has the documentation that shows that Mark Bishop has given Thomas Eye commission to sell Koenigsegg shares, he is denying today that he knows the Norwegian finance acrobat. Or that he has any shares to sell.

– I am neither a shareholder or board member of the Koenigsegg. I have no shares, “said Bishop.

– We know that Thomas Eye is trying to sell your stocks?

– It is impossible – when I do not have any share, The only ones that represent Koenigsegg Group, is Carnegie, “says Bishop.

Thomas Eye confirms that he has received an assignment of the former owner.

– Mark Bishop has asked me to find a buyer for his shares, “said Thomas Eye.

Who’s fooling who?

Carnegie-chief Anders Onarheim has also heard that someone is trying to dump the Koenigsegg shares – while Carnegie tries to get the company $ 100 million in fresh money.

– We have heard the same thing, but it does not relate to us. We have looked at the Saab case and find it exciting, and so we try to see if we can help it.

– It’s not so easy to sell shares if someone else tries to sell to a much lower price at the same time?

– That may be so, but here there is a question of what they actually have to sell. We have noticed that there is some things going on, but we do not care about it, “said Onarheim.

Who’s fooling who? Who owns the shares that Mark Bishop and Thomas Øye travels around the world to sell? Who is behind the backs of whom, who fronts what and who meets himself in the door?

Drops the funding

Koenigsegg management has now informed the Swedish government about the wild games around Koenigsegg shares. Bard Eker said that they also have stopped the planned Carnegie funding.

– This is an open wound, we must treat. We must eventually address the issue of additional funding later. We have also been contacted by someone who is very serious. So it’s not just grief, “says Eker.

In the middle of next week can Mark Bishop’s initial vision to save Saab be reality. Or in the worst case, both Koenigsegg Group and the Saab be history.

Koenigsegg Group has decided to fight for ownership of Saab just five days.

– If not everything is in place by Wednesday 30 September, we are out. Then we withdraw, “says Eker.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close