Spyker Cars Says EIB Loan Is Biggest Problem

Posted on 17. Dec, 2009 by in 2000-2009

Bloomberg reports that Spyker CEO, Victor Muller says that the European Investment Bank (EIB) loan is their biggest problem.

Evidently, this is the most time consuming aspect of the entire deal for the company. In addition, the CEO also indicates that the EU and the Swedish National Debt Office are also slow to move on things.

What I am concerned with is that most of these places are entering the holiday season at this time, so will they be even slower? When you hear a quote from the EIB stating that ” It’s possible that the European Commission will reach a decision this month” , it makes you wonder if they really care to get this resolved by December 31st? If they don’t grant the loan before then, and the deal is not signed immediately following the loan being granted, it’s over.

Furthermore, one would have thought that all of these parties would have been motivated to work harder, faster & smarter since the Koenigsegg failed due to all of these parties moving slower to begin with. We can’t have a repeat of the same process again, only to be bottle necked again by the same slow-moving bureaucracies.

Here’s hoping that the EIB, EU and the SNDO can get their act together ASAP.

Spyker CEO Says EIB Loan Is Biggest Saab Deal Hurdle (Update1)

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) — Spyker Cars NV’s plan to buy General Motors Co.’s Saab unit hinges on the European Investment Bank approving a loan before the end of December, the Dutch luxury-car maker’s chief executive officer said.

GM and Spyker are not the “potential problem for this transaction,” Victor Muller said in a phone interview from his home in Amsterdam today, adding that winning EIB support before year-end is the biggest obstacle. So far, the European Union’s lending arm has sent “neutral signals” on approving a 400 million-euro ($574 million) loan that is key to the sale and which the Swedish government must guarantee, said Muller.

“It’s mainly now down to the government agencies,” Muller said. “That’s really the main issue. We’re getting lots of support from the Swedish government.”

Spyker, the maker of $235,000 sports cars, emerged as the frontrunner to buy Saab this month after Koenigsegg Group abandoned its bid on Nov. 24. GM’s Chief Executive Officer Ed Whitacre said on Dec. 15 that the Detroit-based carmaker will shut the unit if it doesn’t reach a deal with Spyker by the end of this month. GM has separately agreed to sell some technologies for Saab’s 9-3 and 9-5 models to Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co.

The EIB was not immediately available for comment.

Koenigsegg Canceled Deal

Koenigsegg Group canceled its planned acquisition of Saab, saying it ran out of time because delays in closing the acquisition had “resulted in risks and uncertainties” that prevented it from implementing a new business plan for the Swedish carmaker. The EIB in August delayed a decision on whether to give Saab a loan, which it eventually granted the Trollhaettan, Sweden-based company on Oct. 21.

While the EIB approved the loan to Saab, the bank must now re-evaluate the financing with Spyker as the new owner. The Dutch carmaker is using Koenigsegg’s business plan in its bid and plans to keep Saab’s management if it buys Saab, Muller said.

“In October, the EIB approved the Koenigsegg deal, which was exactly the same deal — the same lender, same borrower and the same business plan,” Muller said. “The only thing changed is the shareholder, so they have to do due diligence on that.”

According to Koenigsegg Group’s plan for Saab as of September, the automaker was to become profitable by 2012 with annual sales of at least 100,000 cars.

No Signed Deal

No deal will be signed with GM until the EIB has decided on whether Saab can get the loan with Spyker as the new owner, Muller said. Spyker is also waiting for the European Commission to decide whether potential Swedish loan guarantees for the EIB funding distorts competition and for the Swedish state to decide whether it will give Saab the guarantees, said Muller.

“There is very little point in signing an agreement until the time that the governmental agencies have approved the transaction,” Muller said. “Everybody knows exactly what the deadline is. There is no misunderstanding about that,” he said adding GM’s chief executive officer had been “blatantly clear” about a Dec. 31 deadline.

Saab is likely to win European Commission approval for the EIB loan, Johnny Kjellstroem, who is negotiating the case with the European Union’s regulatory arm on behalf of the Swedish government, said last week. It’s possible that the European Commission will reach a decision this month, he said.

The EIB gives funding to projects throughout the European Union and raises funds it then lends on under favorable terms, according to its Web site. Recent projects include funding for energy efficiency and urban regeneration in cities and financial support for small businesses as well loans to the European automotive industry.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ola Kinnander in Stockholm at okinnander@bloomberg.net;

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No Responses to “Spyker Cars Says EIB Loan Is Biggest Problem”

  1. Ted Y

    17. Dec, 2009

    I’m not sure the EU wants to get its act together. I’ve seen them jerk Sweden around before, on other issues. I sometimes think the EU is set up to benefit only Germany and France. I think they are looking for an excuse to rule against the loan or, if they can’t find a legit-looking excuse, they are hoping Saab dies before they have to announce a decision.

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  2. Ryan

    17. Dec, 2009

    Ted,

    I hope that’s not the case with Saab, otherwise that will create a problem.

    This situation better get resolved and a deal signed by next at the latest.

    R

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