Saab Automobile Board Meeting Rescheduled For Tomorrow

Posted on 07. Jan, 2010 by in 2010-2019

As reported this morning, Bloomberg indicates that the Saab Automobile AB management board meeting has been rescheduled for tomorrow to take in additional last minute efforts for other bidders to buy Saab.

The discussion tomorrow will not only include the bidders, but also whether or not to start production this Sunday, January 11th as stated previously.

They have some additional coverage of our “Save Saab” gathering in Detroit, which is again nice to see.

Here is the article below:

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) — Saab Automobile AB, the Swedish carmaker being wound down by General Motors Co., postponed a board meeting and bidders including Spyker Cars NV are making last-ditch efforts to buy the brand as a sale deadline looms.

The gathering, originally set for today, will take place tomorrow and examine whether or how Saab can restart production Jan. 11 after a four-week break, board member Haakan Danielsson said an interview. Board members may also discuss any possible new bids for Saab, he said.

GM has extended a deadline for Saab bids until today, giving Spyker more time to come up with financing for its offer, people familiar with the matter have said. Genii Capital, a private-equity firm that agreed to buy a majority stake in Renault SA’s Formula One team last month, intends to hand in a cash offer today, according to Lars Carlstroem, the Swedish investor who is working with Genii.

“It is a true opportunity and we’re surprised that more investors haven’t identified this opportunity,” Carlstroem said in an interview. Luxembourg-based Genii “loves brands and Saab is a strong brand on the same level as Porsche and BMW.”

Detroit-based GM is proceeding with its decision to close Saab, Chief Executive Officer Ed Whitacre told a roundtable of reporters yesterday. No qualified buyer has emerged, he said, and GM doesn’t foresee a sale.

“It’s real easy — show up with the money and you can have it,” Whitacre said when asked whether GM had made a good-faith effort to sell Saab.

Spyker, Genii

Spyker, the Zeewolde, Netherlands-based super-car maker, plans to submit a more detailed offer before a 5 p.m. deadline in New York, CEO Victor Muller told Bloomberg News late yesterday. Negotiations to sell Saab to Spyker collapsed Dec. 18 and Spyker submitted a new offer Dec. 20.

Genii plans to use former bidder Koenigsegg Group AB’s business plan for Saab and make the automaker profitable by 2012 with production of 105,000 vehicles a year, Carlstroem said.

Julien Nerguisian, a Genii spokesman, couldn’t be reached for comment. Director Gerard Lopez told Radio Lëtzebuerg in Luxembourg that Genii is in talks to acquire Saab.

The Saab brand is among four, with Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer, being sold or shut as GM focuses on Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac in the U.S. after its July 10 bankruptcy exit.

Saab’s board could be dissolved as early as tomorrow as the wind-down process begins, a person familiar with the matter said. Even so, GM could still decide to accept a bid, he said.

Beijing Automotive

The failed initial talks with Spyker marked the second time efforts faltered to sell Saab. Swedish sports-car maker Koenigsegg, which had backing from Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., walked away from a deal in November. Beijing Auto paid $200 million to buy some car technologies from Saab to use in its own vehicles.

“We have customers who have ordered cars, especially the 9-3” model, Saab board member Danielsson, who is also head of Trollhaettan, Sweden-based Saab’s engineering union, said in a telephone interview. “We have the materials and we’ll just go out and build the cars unless we hear differently.”

Danielsson said that Saab board members have not received an agenda for tomorrow’s meeting.

A Swedish government delegation will travel to Detroit at the start of next week to meet with GM’s management, Svenska Dagbladet reported, citing Joeran Haegglund, state secretary at the Industry Ministry.

‘No Misunderstandings’

“As we have understood the situation, GM has not yet closed the door for a sale even if a wind-down is the official track,” Haegglund told the newspaper. “Now, we want to make absolutely sure that they have all the necessary information and that there are no misunderstandings” on issues such as a loan for Saab from the European Investment Bank, the European Union’s lending arm, he said.

“We made the decision last month to wind down Saab, but in that process we have said that we will review any bids that come in sincerely,” said Stefan Weinmann, a GM Europe spokesman.

Saab sales in the U.S. slumped 59 percent to 8,680 vehicles last year. European deliveries through November also fell 59 percent to 25,093 cars.

About 50 Saab enthusiasts in around 35 vehicles gathered outside GM’s headquarters on Jan. 5 to appeal to the carmaker to sell its Swedish brand to Spyker or one of the other potential bidders, according to Ryan Emge, who organized the meeting.

“What we need now is for GM to sell Saab so that they can get back to selling cars again,” said Emge, who operates the Saab History Web Site from Portland, Maine. No enthusiasts had rallied for the other car brands GM is shedding, he said.

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