Saab postpones the meeting with the creditors

It seems like they are at least talking to each other and trying to get a positive solution for Saab. But at the same time it looks like till Christmas to find a solution.

Saab sets the meeting with creditors
Saab would meet with its creditors now on Tuesday was the plan.
The meeting is now set, the company announced today.
– First, we want to sort it out with GM, says information director Eric Geers said.

The idea was to Saab Automobile would meet with creditors on November 22 to present a scheme of arrangement. The meeting has now been thrust forward, but no new date is exposed.

– We must find a structure that suits everyone, including GM. That’s the case, said Geers to TT.

Negotiations between the parties continues, according to Geer.

– Yes, there are intense negotiations. It is 100 percent focused on all sides, we also have a dialogue with GM, said Geers to TT.

Would not the deal be in port before, Geers hope to announce something more concrete before the Saab meets the district court to discuss an extension of the reconstruction. Due date for this is December 21.


TTELA focus on Kristina Geers

You’ve heard me mention Eric Geers a lot on this website. As Saab’s head information/PR guy for the last couple of years, he’s been one of my main go-to guys when I need to know what’s going on over there.
Eric’s a company guy and a straight shooter and he’s been absolutely fantastic to deal with in the last 12 months whilst Saab’s being going through this most turbulent time.
You may not know, however, the Eric’s not the only member of the Geers household with a hand on the corporate steering wheel at Saab.
Eric Geers is married to Kristina Geers, one very smart lady who has been Saab’s chief legal counsel since 2004.
TTELA’s Magnus Nordberg has continued his first rate coverage of the Saab sale with a profile piece on Christina Geers, who has not only had a big role to help steer the biggest corporate reconstruction in Swedish history, but has also had the good grace to let a little blogger from Tasmania use Saab’s good name and imagery for promotional effect without cracking the whip 🙂
Some edited Google-trans excerpts (which are hopefully still accurate):

Everything came at once. A complex transfer of ownership, a long process to get a loan from the EIB and a reorganization of record size. 2009 for the longest time has been more about law than automobiles for Saab.
– There is not a year I would like to redo,” says Kristina Geers, the company’s general counsel who played a key role in all this…..
……It all began November 8 last year, when the first signs appeared that GM would get rid of Saab. At the beginning of 2009 there were three major challenges – cutting Saab from GM, finding a new owner and getting through a reorganization.

On the workload:

– Each of them is a huge process, on top of the regular work,” says Kristina Geer…..
……- We have 30-40 contracts must be written between Saab and GM. Sure, we realized that there was a complexity, but it’s just taking it step by step…..

On the future:

…..she does not plan to use the experiences of Saab affair as a springboard to new jobs.
– I like where I sit. And when we are separated from GM, I get a more independent role and therefore an opportunity to build their own international network. It will be very exciting.

I think Kristina Geers is yet another person in a long line of people at Saab that we enthusiasts will have to thank once this whole affair is done and dusted.
The notion that someone like Kristina and her husband Eric would be happy to stay at Saab in the long terms is a very comforting one. And somehow pretty fitting too. It really does come across as a family-style company.

Saab deciding on buyers soon

As predicted in my “2 cents” article, Saab are planning to whittle down the number of potential investors – and quite soon.
This report from Automotive News has just come online.
Here’s a snippet:

TROLLHATTAN, Sweden — General Motors will choose two to three preferred bidders for its Saab brand this week, industry sources tell Automotive News Europe
The sources would not say which bidders have the best chance to make it to the next round of talks.
When asked for comment, Saab spokesman Eric Geers declined say how many bidders would be left by next week.
“The number of bidders will be reduced to a few very soon. We want to work with fewer companies so we can have more detailed negotiations,” he said. “We expect a deal to be in place by early summer.”
Saab parent General Motors is examining proposals from about 10 bidders for the automaker, which has attracted interested from Chinese automakers such as Geely, Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg , European investor groups and private equity firms, according to media reports.

I’m not sure when we can expect an announcement, and if we get one I’m not sure that it’ll identify the winning parties.
All I know is that according to Saab’s schedule, we’re only around six weeks away from signatures on the bottom line…..and this will be an important milestone along that path.

Saab update – support gathering

I’ve just got off the phone with Eric Geers from Saab, who sounded very upbeat and especially encouraged by the groundswell of support for Saab in Sweden.
He cited the RIX FM campaign (Yay Titti!) from last week, as well as coverage today on TV4 and Robert Collin’s encouraging review of the 2010 Saab 9-5 in today’s Aftonbladet newspaper as evidence of the growing support that Saab are enjoying.
There’s a number of motoring publications – and business publications in general – who will never believe that Saab have a chance of new ownership until there’s a signature on the bottom line of a contract.
Saab aren’t worrying about convincing them anymore.
What they’re doing is pressing ahead with the reconstruction process, pressing ahead with narrowing down the current number of potential buyers from 10 to just a few. The focus is definitely on the future.
The response they’re getting is the groundswell of support that we’re seeing from various outlets last week and this week.
It’s good to see.
On the Fiat issue, Eric confirmed what Jan-Ake has been quoted as saying this morning: that Fiat are not one of the parties that Saab are currently talking with in terms of being a new owner for Saab.
I asked if it were even legally possible for Saab to now be incorporated into a GME deal. I’d have thought that Saab’s reconstruction process, being a formal process sanctioned through the Swedish court, would make this difficult. Eric could not comment on that one, given the complexity of the issue.
One thing was certain…Saab being so specifically included in Fiat’s public talks about the issue was a surprise to the guys in Sweden.
I’ve received a text copy of Robert Collin’s 2010 Saab 9-5 review. I’m awaiting permission from Robert to translate it and publish it here.
Thanks to those who contacted me about it.

Crunch time coming for Saab investors

I bet there are some nervous investors out there this week. Some from China, some from Sweden, some from the US. Some are carmakers, most are not.
TTELA reports that within the next week or so, Saab should have a fairly good idea who they’ll be working with.
The process has thus far included 27 enquiries and subsequent signatures of confidentiality agreements, followed by 10-12 visits and presentations in Trollhattan by the ones considered to be the best applicants by Deutsche Bank.
Now it’ll come down to one or two applicants in the immediate short term, according to our mate Magnus at TTELA.
Here’s the web translation of his most recent article, with subtle edits for readability:
Visits in Trollhättan is completed.
In the coming week should be the stakeholders to submit their “bid” for Saab.
– The number should taper down to 1-2, says information director Eric Geer.
27 stakeholders signed a Saab confidentiality agreement. The ten hottest were invited to Trollhättan.
Spread over three weeks now Saab has had these ten stakeholders for a visit. They have had a deeper insight into the company, have seen the factory and have become acquainted with Saab’s new models.
So far, the process has mostly been concerned with Saab presenting the company and its business plan. Now the sales process into the next phase.
Now is the time for speculators to play their cards – to show how interested they are. Next week should be those who are seriously interested to come in with a letter of intent, a kind of intent on how they would steer Saab from the driver’s seat.
– We will meet next week and the aim is to taper it down so that we work on with 1-2 of them,” says Eric Geer, and continues…. We can also assume that these stakeholders would like to meet with the government and also that the government wants to know who we have for candidates.
The investors’ first thing to learn when talking with the Government are the conditions to obtain loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB). Industry Minister Maud Olofsson has previously promised to be available for such calls.
Eric Geer, was very pleased with the response given by the ten speculators who visited Trollhättan.
It has been very positive. There is no one who was not impressed. These stakeholders do not see the same thing as the media. They see a strong brand, which had an owner who lacked the right focus.
Saab’s future based on the business company. Where are the new 9-5, the new model variant 9-4X and little later also a new 9-3.
But a new owner may also wish to develop the business plan. Saab hope for more good “bids” to choose from, where the business plan takes Saab further.
It can, for example if they want to invest in a 9-1-model (there are stakeholders who mentioned the possibility) or invest more in Sweden. On the other hand, some may want to move everything from Trollhättan, which will not be as good.
A majority of stakeholders are financiers, that is, non-manufacturers.
Thanks to Per for the heads-up!

Eric Geers on the Saab creditors meeting

My thanks to Dippen once again for another translation, this time from a brief radio interview given by Eric Geers to Swedish Radio.
I’m quite sure they’re all working flat out to get everything ready for Monday’s meeting. Eric Geers seems to be pretty happy with how things are going.
Saab is ready for the meeting with the creditors.
It may be quite empty at Vanersborg court on Monday when the reconstruction team will present a solution to the situation Saab is in. The reason for this is the most of creditors have already been paid.
Saab Exec. Director Communications Eric Geers thinks that there will not be that many creditors on the meeting on Monday and it can even be the case that nobody shows up.
– Then we will go home, and carry on with the reconstruction he says with a smile.
But if someone shows up then Saab is ready to explain the situation.
We are there to inform about the current status of the reconstruction and to answer any questions asked, says Eric Geers.
Eric Geers means that the best thing that can happen for Saab on Monday is that the judge gives Saab more time.
– What we do expect is that the judge takes a decision and hopefully the decision is that we can continue (with the reconstruction)
I mentioned a few days ago that the majority of Saab’s creditors have been paid and a huge portion of the remainder are due for payment the day after the hearing in Vanersborg. As predicted, this may make for a quiet meeting on Monday, but I’m sure there’ll still be plenty of interest.
Creditors may have been paid, but they’re still suppliers and still have an interest in what Saab will do in the future – which is what this plan is all about.
If I may be so bold……
My advice to Saab’s executive – don’t make the same fatal mistakes that GM’s executive made at their Senate Committee hearings in Washington. Make sure your full business case is ready. Make sure it’s communicated and make sure it’s understood.
I work in a field where I’m evaluating people’s work every day. The one thing they don’t realise is that they know their job better than I do. If I don’t understand something then I need them to tell me about it.
It’s the same with the judges that will be hearing this submission. You know the car business. They don’t. Make them understand.

Saab preparing for investor visits

The following was a report earlier this week in TTELA.
Dippen’s kindly provided this translation for us. Thanks mate.
Saab is gearing up for visit of potential buyers.
There are about 10 potential buyers and in the coming weeks most of them will visit Saab to have a look at the plant.
– We want to make a good impression, says Eric Geers, Saab Exec. Director
According to him no dates are decided upon yet but we can assume that there will be several visits in the coming weeks.
And even if Eric Geers does not want to comment on who the potential investors are, it appears that he is ready to receive both Swedish and foreign investors.
As TTELA has informed previously, it is not only investors associated with the car industry that have shown interest.
The visits are the next logical step to a possible sale of Saab Automobile. Guy Lofalk, from the reconstruction group informed TTELA last week that extensive information about Saab has already been handed over to the the highest ranked potential investors.
Having in mind that the potential investors will visit Saab there is plenty of activity at Saab. The manufacturing area and offices will be inspected and there will be a presentation of the company for the potential investors.
– We want to do a good impression and therefore we are carefully studying our business plan and preparing the presentation of our business says Eric Geers.
He compares the process, from the potential investors point of view, to that of buying a house.
– Imagine that you want to buy a house. You want all the information available so you can make a decision, says Eric Geers.
But are you, just like buying a house, cleaning and dressing things up just to make a extra good impression?
– No, that is not what this is about. We know what we have and we believe in our product and the business plan that we want to sell, says Eric Geers.

“I do not think the last chapter in the history of Saab has been written yet”

If I get to Sweden this year, I’m going to find Paul Akerlund, the head of the IF Metall union at Saab, and buy him a Coke (I don’t drink beer). A really big, icy cold Coke.
The headline is his comment on Saab’s extraordinary board meeting held yesterday in Trollhattan, as reported at Automotive News. Akerlund, as the head of the union at the plant, had a seat at that meeting.
I can’t recall a single time in the last 4 years of blogging when a comment from Akerlund has turned out to be incorrect. That gives me some reassurance in this instance.
AN state that the meeting did not reach a conclusion and that another meeting will be held Friday.

Saab’s management board will meet again Friday to discuss the troubled carmaker’s future amid reports that the company will soon file for protection from creditors.
Saab held an extraordinary board meeting on Thursday. The Swedish public service radio reported that the meeting was called to decide on a reorganization of the carmaker.
Reorganization is an alternative to an outright bankruptcy filing. The reorganization process includes negotiations with creditors on adjusting the terms of the debts owed by the company…..
….Saab spokesman Eric Geers said the company’s management is “extremely engaged” in finding a solution to Saab’s problems. “We have a great plan, the only thing that is stopping us is how we can get the right financing in place.”

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