Saab negotiating with a wide range of Chinese automakers about a tie-up

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 20, 2011

Sweden-based Saab, a Spyker subsidiary, is in discussions with various Chinese carmakers regarding a tie-up that will bring the company out of its current crisis, Spyker’s chief executive officer Victor Muller stated in an interview. He did not identify the potential partners, but said that they were "niche players and big boys."

He also mentioned that partnering with a large manufacturer was harder for a smaller name such as Saab.

Instead, Saab will have a stronger voice when it partners with a local niche player.

On another note, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. revealed that it was not in discussions regarding making an investment in Saab. Previously, when Saab was still owned by General Motors Co., in 2009, BAIC paid $200 million to buy technology from Saab.

Also, BAIC was part of a group that made an unsuccessful bid to purchase Saab. Spyker also disclosed on Wednesday that Saab is awaiting final approval from the European Investment Bank for a financing agreement, which will bring the automaker back to operations.

In its first year of ownership by Spyker, Saab ran into a cash crunch after its sales in 2010 fell short against the expected figures. Last week, Sweden has conditionally supported a sell-and-lease back deal to free up cash for Saab.

In the deal, the company will sell its real estate to Vladimir Antonov, a Russian businessman, and then lease it back. The agreement required the approval of the Sweden government since the real estate was used as collateral for a loan worth 400 million euros from the European Investment Bank. Such loan was guaranteed by Sweden's Debt Office.

Topics: saab, china

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