Saab’s future has been very much in doubt over recent months, but now it seems that the survival of the Swedish brand is assured thanks to Spyker.
Now that General Motors and Spyker Cars have confirmed that they’ve reached a binding agreement on the purchase of Saab, it should be interesting to see the outcome of a marriage between a car firm that was championing environmental issues, with much investment in its BioPower range, and a company that is primarily known for its somewhat crazy cars.
As part of the agreement, Spyker intends to form a new company, Saab Spyker Automobiles, which will carry the Saab brand forward. The sale will be subject to the normal administrative and legal issues that go with any such deal.
The Swedish government is currently reviewing the transaction and the related request for guarantees of a Saab Automobile loan that has been requested from the European Investment Bank. Assuming quick action, the transaction is expected to close in mid-February, and the previously announced wind-down activities at Saab will be immediately suspended, pending the close of the transaction.
“Throughout the negotiations, GM has always had the hope to find a solution for Saab that would avoid a wind down of the brand,” said Nick Reilly, president, GM Europe. “We’ve worked with many parties over the past year, including governments and investors, and I’m very pleased that we could come to such a good conclusion, one that preserves jobs in Sweden and elsewhere. GM will continue to support Saab and Spyker on their way forward.”
Spyker is paying $74 million for Saab. Upon completion of the transaction GM will retain redeemable preference shares of $326 million. The preference shares represent less than 1% of the voting rights in the capital of Saab.
As part of the transaction, Spyker intends to negotiate the acquisition of all the outstanding shares in Saab Great Britain Limited, the UK distribution, marketing and sales company for Saab from General Motors UK Limited.
Saab has already started the production of the new generation Saab 9-5 in Trollhättan.