Swedish Government’s Enterprise Minister, Jöran Hagglund Says Saab Has 3 To 5 Serious Bidders

Posted on 02. Apr, 2009 by in 2000-2009

Dow Jones Swedish Correspondent, Ola Kinnander, indicates in a dialogue with Jöran Hagglund, (the Swedish Government’s State Secretary who is fighting for Saab Automobile’s success) that Saab Automobile has 3-5 serious bidders.

What is interesting about this is that back in December we heard that there were 3 bidders from Jan-Ake Jonsson, then later we heard about 5, then recently 6-8 and then from the union IF Metall, 10!

I am beginning to be less interested in the number of bidders and more interested in who they are already.

Here is the piece below from tMr Kinnander of Wall Street Journal:

Sweden Government Official: 3 To 5 Serious Bidders for GM’s Saab / Dow Jones

By Ola Kinnander ? April 1, 2009

STOCKHOLM – Saab Automobile AB, which owner General Motors Corp. is trying to sell, appears to have attracted between three and five serious bidders,
but its chances of survival remain uncertain, a senior Swedish government official told Dow Jones Newswires Wednesday.

He also said the Swedish and German governments have discussed the possibility of merging Saab and Opel, another troubled GM unit, but
decided such a deal wasn’t feasible.

Saab in recent weeks has said that about eight parties have expressed interest in potentially taking over the Swedish car maker.
Joran Hagglund, a state secretary in the Swedish Enterprise Ministry who is the government’s main liaison with the auto industry, said in an
interview that he suspects some rival car makers may signal interest in Saab simply to gain access to its books and research and development plans.

The picture may clear up in a couple of weeks, and then it may show that “between three and five” parties are seriously considering investing in Saab, he said. However, Hagglund doubted whether this interest would be enough to save Saab once GM cuts its ties. “It would be very nice” if Saab could survive, he said. “But the signs point the other way. The auto industry is in free fall. There may be no strong buyers.”

Potential buyers likely can soon choose between several car companies in crisis. “The question then is, does Saab’s concept fit into an interested party’s ideas? I can’t answer that, other than to say that it looks grim,” he said.

Saab in February filed for bankruptcy protection, similar to the Chapter 11 process in the U.S. Saab on Monday will meet with the reconstruction team and representatives of GM and Sweden in a Swedish court to decide whether the reconstruction period, which is set to expire next month, will be extended.

Hagglund said that since GM had paid almost all of the debt owed to Saab’s suppliers, he expected the court to approve Saab’s request for an extension for up to three months more.

He also said he thought it was unlikely that Saab and Opel, GM’s struggling German unit, would team up. The Swedish and German governments have discussed that possibility but “have pretty much concluded that … it’d be pretty difficult to find an owner who wants to go in and own both of these loss-making companies.”

Hagglund reiterated the Swedish government’s stance that it wasn’t interested in owning any auto companies.

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