Deal To Save Saab Needs GM's Approval

April 26, 2011
Saab logo

Saab logo

Production of Saab automobiles has been stopped for over two weeks, as the struggling automaker scrambles for operating capital to pay supplier--and GM could once again hold the cards in the Swedish carmaker's survival.

Current owner, Spyker Cars, has put together an elaborate deal to raise working cash for Saab. They’ve gotten an investor to back the plan, and have even received a conditional  approval from the European Investment Bank; all that’s missing now is the approval of Saab’s former owner, General Motors, and acceptance of a few other provisions set out by the EIB.

GM, it seems, retained redeemable preference shares in Saab when the company was sold to Spyker Cars. Before anything can progress forward, GM must approve a proposed sale and lease-back plan meant to raise cash for Saab.

Here’s where the story takes a turn for the dramatic: the investor looking to buy the Saab properties and lease them back to Spyker is none other than Russian financier Vladimir Antonov, alleged to have ties to Russian "bad actors." The European Investment Bank isn’t thrilled about entering into a business deal with Antonov, so they’ve now added a list of conditions that will prove difficult to meet. Saab will have just 90 days to repay existing loans, and the EIB is only willing to approve a partial sale of Saab property. The EIB is also requiring formal approval from the aforementioned GM, Saab Automobile, the Swedish National Debt Office and the Swedish government.

The only certain thing is this: the situation remains a long way from being resolved.

[Automotive News]

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