New Hope For Saab Revival

New Hope For Saab Revival

National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, the investment group that bought Saab Automobile two years ago, said it’s found two Asian investors that may help fund its revival of the Swedish car brand.

An Asian carmaker agreed on November 30 to buy a majority stake in Nevs and finance the company’s operating costs until the deal is complete early next year, the Trollhattan, Sweden-based company said in a statement today. Nevs also said it’s in talks with another Asian manufacturer on a joint venture to develop new vehicles.

Nevs, a Chinese-Japanese investment group led by renewable energy power-plant builder National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd., sought protection from its creditors in August after struggling to deliver on a target of producing 120,000 cars a year by 2016. That would have come close to the Saab brand’s 2006 peak of 133,000 autos. Talks with the two Asian manufacturers have “intensified significantly in the past few weeks,” Nevs said today. It didn’t identify either company.

Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported that Nevs was in talks with India’s Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and China’s Dongfeng Motor Corp. on funding, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the talks.

Bridge Financing

The potential majority shareholder has offered to provide bridge financing of 5 million euros a month to cover operating costs until the agreement is complete, Nevs said. Pending due diligence, the company said the deal should be finished by February.

Nevs, granted permission by a Swedish court on August 29 to carry out a reorganisation of the company, applied today to Vaenersborg District Court to extend the reconstruction period by three months. Nevs said it had trouble paying its creditors after its shareholder Qingbo Investment Co. didn’t fulfill a promised investment of 1.15 billion kronor ($155 million).

Saab was previously owned by General Motors Co., which acquired full control in 2000, before selling it in 2010 to Dutch supercar maker Spyker NV, which failed to revive the brand. The auto business split from Saab AB’s aerospace operations in 1990.

Niklas Magnusson/Bloomberg