2008 Saab 9-3 SedanEnlarge Photo
Today, Saab has responded with a statement that says the reports were misinformed, and that it has received a first payment by China's Youngman under the bridge loan funding commitment as announced on September 12.
Further payments under the amended and final bridge loan agreements signed between Youngman and Saab are expected to be made during this week and by October 22 of this year.
It is the intention to repay the bridge loan with the proceeds of the previous $350 million equity investments by Youngman and Pang Da, which are still subject to approval by relevant authorities and parties, mainly the Chinese government, which Saab’s parent company Swedish Automobile expects to receive during the next weeks.
China's Zhejian Youngman Lotus (Youngman) and Pang Da Automobile signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Saab in June to provide as much as $350 million in financing for Saab to help it avoid bankruptcy. That financing is likely to be blocked, sending Saab into bankruptcy, according to a report from Autocar.
The Chinese government is the one doing the blocking, according to the report, because the stakes offered in return do not include any intellectual property rights to Saab's cars. Saab had agreed to license the architecture for its next-gen 9-3, codenamed Phoenix, to the Swedish company SPV, and from there to Youngman through yet another agreement, but that transfer apparently isn't substantial or exclusive enough to merit the Chinese government's approval.
Saab is currently under court administration as it works to restructure its operations, but that protection may fall by the wayside once the projected cash infusion from Youngman and Pang Da is blocked. Worse still, the Swedish courts could beat the Chinese to the punch, pre-emptively blocking the deal and declaring Saab bankrupt as early as today.
Given the short time frame, we expect an official statement from Saab and its parent company Spyker soon. We'll bring you the latest as it develops.