Spyker has agreed to a request by General Motors to extend the deadline to respond to a legal action that seeks over $3 billion in damages. The deadline was originally set Aug. 28, 2012, but was postponed to Sept. 28, 2012. Spyker is taking legal action against GM, in behalf of its Saab unit, alleging that the US carmaker deliberately bankrupted the Swedish automaker by obstructing a deal with a Chinese investor.
In a statement, Spyker said that GM's actions had the direct and intended objective of pushing Saab into bankruptcy, a consequence of the US carmaker’s interference with a transaction between Saab Automobile AB, Spyker and Chinese investor Youngman. Spyker said the deal would have enabled Saab Automobile AB to restructure and remain solvent.
GM described the Spyker lawsuit as "without merit." Saab collapsed financially on December 2011, nearly two years after Spyker acquired it from GM. Saab’s bankruptcy came after several failed attempts to entice investors and perk up the company. Saab was declared insolvent after incurring around SEK13 billion ($1.8 billion) in debts, around SEK2.2 billion of which is due to the Swedish Debt Office.
Spyker and former Saab chief executive Victor Muller had tried to come up with a rescue agreement for Saab with various Russian, Middle Eastern and Chinese investors, including Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. and Youngman.
GM, however, blocked final agreements to rescue Saab with Pang Da and Youngman when it announced it would stop supplying vehicles and technology to Saab's new owners since it would oppose the interests of its own shareholders. According to Muller, the $3 billion claim is based on Saab’s potential worth if the deal pushed though.
Based in Trollhattan, Sweden, Saab Automobile AB was formed in 1945 when Swedish aerospace and defense company Saab AB (Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget) commenced an automobile design project – internally known as X9248 and formally dubbed as Project 92. After acquiring half of Saab in 1989, GM made the Swedish carmaker its wholly owned subsidiary in 2000.
In January 26, 2010, GM reached an agreement to sell Saab to Spyker. The deal was closed on February 23, 2010. In May 2011 Saab halted production when it lost the ability to pay its suppliers and workers. Muller had attempted to implement a rescue agreement with different investors, but this failed as GM – being a preferential shareholder -- refused to approve the sale.
GM believed that it would be difficult to such sale if it would negatively affect its relationships in China or its competitiveness in other markets.