CLEPA: The Swedish government has failed the industry

In an interview with Swedish Television, Lars Holmqvist the CEO of CLEPA, points out the following:

  • Saab’s current situation could have been avoided with a more alert government
  • Germany supported their automobile industry
    • 300 billion SEK in loans and grants
    • 30 billion SEK in cash-for-clunker fees
  • Sweden: Nothing
  • The Swedish government is not interested in this type of industry. It is not an industry suited for the “future” they say.
  • He does not want to criticize the government or EIB for their handling of the Antonov question

Read moreCLEPA: The Swedish government has failed the industry

Updated: Pay back or else…

Reuters reported yesterday that EIB wants Saab to repay the loan within 90 days.

But a source familiar with the negotiations said one of the terms was that the EIB wanted Saab to repay the money it had borrowed within 90 days of the sale and leaseback deal being carried out.

Thanks to WM in the comments section for the tip.

Other media are reporting similar stories, but do not touch on the specifics.

From TTela:

Do you understand why EIB poses these requirements?

– No, it is completely inexplicable. Unless they want Saab to declare bankruptcy, says Carlström.

Update: TTela now reports that EIB wants to terminate the loan.

– We are working with alternative solutions to solve this problem. We have 100 lawyers working with the EIB-question, says Lars Carlström.

Weekend Loan Update

A new week, a new round of press for Saab. We can all hope this time that loans will get approved, the liquidity situation will ease up, and the factory can restart production; then the media can finally report something positive.

A recap of events over the weekend:

  • According to Lars Carlstrom in an interview with TTELA (english version),”Yes, (the NDO) have given the green light to Vladimir Antonov can lend money, but he wants to come in as a shareholder. And it’ll continue to negotiate on this issue over the weekend.”  Vladimir Antonov himself and Victor Muller have been negotiating with representatives of government and Riskgälden since Friday.
  • According to Ola Kinnander at Bloomberg (a very trusted source of SU) , a source who didn’t wish to be identified since the talks are private indicated that the loan will come from Bankas Snoras in Lithuania (which is controlled by Vladimir Antonov). Lawyers are working on the loan deal today (Sunday April 10), which may be approved as early as tomorrow, two of Kinnander’s sources said.
  • Saab would likely borrow around 300 million kronor (€33.4 million) from Bankas Snoras, one of the people said, which will get production started ASAP. At the same time, Antonov and Spyker will wait for clearance to bring in Antonov from the EIB. Antonov is ready to invest at least €50 million in Saab, Lars Carlstrom said April 8, when he also said Antonov has agreed to cap his stake in Saab at 30 (29.9) percent.

All in all, it just shows Victor, Vladimir, and their team of lawyers and accounts will work all hours to make sure every paper is lined up and in order, even on the weekends. As hard as the production stop was on Saab in the media, it could have been a lot worse. In the United States, Japanese auto makers’ supply problems took center stage, and the biggest supply disruption– the US government’s near shutdown– kept the story pretty well hidden in the press. And while we all know that Saab is alive and kicking, for a lot of customers in the US and abroad, Saab hasn’t yet raised it’s profile enough for them to even realize that the company is still in business.. You don’t get too many second chances, but Saab has one and needs to get it right. Once the hiccups are solved, let’s hope they get a strong message based on real facts that Saab is alive, kicking hard, well stocked, and a bargain compared to the competition. We’ll help as much as we can here.

For my second sports reference in two days, It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.” Points for anyone who knows who those words are attributed to (don’t google!)

Saab Granted Additional Payments of EIB Loan by Sweden’s NDO

The Swedish National Debt Office guaranteed additional loans for Saab.

The NDO on Thursday granted additional guarantees for EIB loans for Saab. Within two weeks, the company may have more money in their accounts.

Note that this money is part of the EIB loan facility that Saab has been using since restarting operations last year and is used exclusively for special environmental development projects. As Marja Long said, “We are not worried.”



In an interview with Dow Jones, according to Victor Muller, there’s no need for additional approvals:

According to Muller, this is nonsense. “I don’t know what they are talking about,” he said, adding Saab can draw up to EUR400 million from the facility without additional approvals. “So far, we’ve drawn EUR260 million from the facility.”

Read moreSaab Granted Additional Payments of EIB Loan by Sweden’s NDO

Summary – Spyker EGM, future plans and EIB loan approval

As we’d hoped, today events saw all the final hurdles cleared before Spyker Cars proceed to closing the deal with General Motors for the acquisition of Saab Automobile. At the time the deal was signed, the closed was scheduled for “mid-February” with several mentions of Monday 15th as a closing date, so hopefully it will happen on Monday but it should be done by the end of next week at the latest.
Here’s a summary of what happened today.
Spyker shareholders approve Saab acquisition
The Spyker Cars Extraordinary General Meeting took place in Zeewolde and at that meeting, shareholders approved the plan to acquire Saab Automobile with an overwhelming majority.
Possibility of listing on the London Stock Exchange
From a news release shown over at Etienne’s Saabhuy blog:

“Today’s meeting went very smoothly and we spent a lot of time explaining the transaction in great detail. We also announced that we are currently investigating the possibilities of listing Spyker at the London Stock Exchange by means of a dual listing and possibly in the future in Stockholm, in which case the listing in Amsterdam would eventually be terminated. However, I stress that this is still in the investigation phase and no such decision has been made yet.

Listing in these countries would open up far greater possibilities for capital raising for the new company.
Delay on changing the corporate name
From the same news release:

We postponed the decision to change the name of Spyker Cars N.V. to Saab Spyker Automobiles because we need to reach agreement with Swedish aircraft manufacturer Saab AB on the possible use of the Saab trademark in our corporate name. We expect this issue to be resolved at Spyker’s Annual General Meeting, scheduled for April 22 2010.

Here’s hoping that Saab AB play ball and don’t make this overly difficult. I could almost understand Saab AB’s reservations, but if they were happy for an American-owned company to use it, then why not a Dutch-owned company?
Maybe because the American company just had it as a brand, not as the entire corporate identity, as would be the case for Saab Spyker.
The Swedish government has confirmed the offer of loan guarantees made on January 26 following a recommendation from the Swedish National Debt Office.
The SNDO concluded that Saab’s business plan is plausible with acceptable levels of risk and that there is sufficient collateral to support the loan guarantees.
Following that news…..
Via a news release on the EIB website today:

EIB loan to Saab
Date: 12 February 2010
The EIB has confirmed the authorisation to conclude the EUR 400 m loan to SAAB Automobile AB in accordance with the terms and conditions approved by the Board of Directors on 21 October 2009 and to conclude the guarantee agreement with the Swedish National Debt Office, as the loan is subject to a state guarantee which the Swedisch Government approved on 26 January 2010. The EU Commission approved the Swedish state-guarantee for the Bank’s loan to SAAB on 8 February 2010.

Today’s events mean that everything is set up now, for the closing of the deal.
The challenge now is for Saab to start building, selling and designing cars for customers. They now get that chance, a chance to do things on their own terms, which is what we’ve all been hoping for, and fighting for, all along.
Congratulations to Victor Muller, the Spyker executive and to Jan-Ake Jonsson and Saab’s management team for a another successful day.
Time for cake?

Swedish government approve guarantees for Saab’s EIB loan

The final hurdle prior to Spyker closing the Saab purchase deal was cleared today when the Swedish National Debt Office submitting a proposal to provide loan guarantees for Saab’s loan from the European Investment Bank.
From SvD

– Debt Office has said that the business plan is reasonable and there is collateral for the guarantee. There are risks, but they are acceptable, “said Olofsson.

Do a Googletrans of the SvD article and you’ll see there’s a whole section there where Maud takes a bow for being so thorough and another bit where SvD try and trip everything up by unveiling some sinister investor in the background. Both were too unpalatable for print here.
The bottom line:
The National Debt Office is satisfied that Saab’s business plan has a chance of success and they are also satisfied that there is stable ownership, and sufficient collateral in place to guarantee the loan.
The double-bottom line:
It’s all systems go, baby!!

EIB loan to Saab – approved

It happened while I was sleeping (damn time zones!) and it’s already been noted in comments, but for those who haven’t seen it yet, from the EIB website:

EIB loan to Saab
Date: 12 February 2010
The EIB has confirmed the authorisation to conclude the EUR 400 m loan to SAAB Automobile AB in accordance with the terms and conditions approved by the Board of Directors on 21 October 2009 and to conclude the guarantee agreement with the Swedish National Debt Office, as the loan is subject to a state guarantee which the Swedisch Government approved on 26 January 2010. The EU Commission approved the Swedish state-guarantee for the Bank’s loan to SAAB on 8 February 2010.

Giddyup, baby!!
From Svenska Dagbladet:
Spykers CEO Victor Muller had just been told by the EIB when TT got hold of him.
– I’m very up and very happy that the biggest obstacle to the whole affair is now gone, “he said.
– Now we move quickly towards closing the deal. Probably becoming clear next week, “he continues.
But there are still a part of the negotiation with GM.
– It is the most technical stuff and the different conditions we have to discuss. As I see it, there are no substantial barriers remain, “he says.
TT: Are you going to celebrate today’s ruling?
– Yes, it is clear. Victor Muller. “I’m going home to my wife and children.”

You make the news – Zeewolde, EIB and SNDO edition

UPDATE below

There are three big things that we’re hoping for today.
Assuming that they don’t do announcements on the weekend (I could be wrong), it’d be nice if the Swedish National Debt Office and the European Investment Bank made some announcements prior to the closing date for the deal (Monday). They could do it Monday morning, I guess.
The other big event today is the Extraordinary General Meeting being held by Spyker Cars in Zeewolde. Shareholders will be voting on a number of issues (see the Agenda for the meeting here). I fully expect that meeting to progress smoothy, even if there are some questions asked about finance.
A press conference should be held after the EGM.

It appears that the shareholders of Spyker Cars have voted in favour of the acquisition. There was a live-blog of the shareholder meeting, in Dutch.
A Googletrans of the record states the following at the end:

Applause: shareholders vote massively in the acquisition.
Friday, February 12, 2010 12:54

Spyker will do a press conference when it’s all said and done.
Thanks to Robert P for the CoverItNow link.
Whilst you’re waiting for all that to happen, enjoy an article from Henk Noort, a psychologist and researcher from The Netherlands.
My googletrans might not be overly accurate, but I think you’ll get the picture.
On the day that I drove home in my first Saab convertible, Spyker CEO Victor Muller took on Saab…..
……Previously I had nothing to do with cars, but [the right] Saab changed me into a petrol head. The Saab convertible [has been] my wet dream for decades. The declining ‘saab’ of the brand did love cool, but when I saw the sovereign 9.3 2.0t, I was instantly in love again…..
……Friends and acquaintances constantly show me the disadvantages: it is not economical, maintenance and sensitive as a family car and totally inappropriate for our maritime climate. That may be so, but dreams are by definition irrational. Mullers dream calls in our risk averse culture zesje same envious reactions. I’d rather give him the benefit of the doubt.
……Dare to dream and to live up against oppression, is what life is. It inspires others to do the same. Mullers feat even brought our Prime Minister to his neck out by stabbing the daredevil publicly embrace. So no immediate consensus that Dutch scythe, rather take an example of Victor Muller. He began his entrepreneurship on credit by a Jaguar V12 expensive to buy. So he forced himself to realize his dreams. The course does not have to cost tons, funded my dream-Saab has the same effect. Chase your wildest dreams, dare to take an advance and put your pedal to the metal!
I’m getting an early night. I need one.

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