Five possible buyers for bankrupt Saab: administrator


STOCKHOLM–Up to five companies are keen to buy Saab, one of the bankrupt Swedish carmaker’s three administrators said Sunday. “I can’t comment on who we are in discussions with, but we are conducting dialogues with four to five interested parties who we consider are seriously interested,” Hans Bergqvist told the TT news agency. He said the aim was to sell all of Saab, which filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 19, to a single buyer. “That is our main tack (since) we … will get the most value,” he said, adding that administrators were also looking at the possibility of selling off parts of the business piecemeal. Chinese carmaker Youngman has shown keen interest but its bid to snap Saab up before it declared bankruptcy was thwarted by the Swedish brand’s former owner GM, which balked at transferring the necessary technology licenses. A delegation from the Chinese company will reportedly arrive in Sweden on Monday to try to hammer out a deal. Indian commercial utility vehicles manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra is also interested and company officials have reportedly prolonged a visit to the Saab factory in the southwestern town of Trollhaettan to pursue talks. Turkish private equity firm Brightwell Holdings has also expressed interest, with board member Samier Ahmed saying that “We will place a bid as soon as they (the administrators) are ready to accept bids.” Bergqvist said the administrators hope to have a deal in weeks. “We have to (hurry) due to the economic situation we are in. To make it possible for someone to restart the activity again, we have to keep the factory in good shape, and that costs an incredible amount of money,” he told TT. Earlier this month, the administrators sold off the Saab museum to the town of Trollhaettan, for 28 million kronor (3.1 million euros, US$4.2 million), he said.

Administrators are also trying to sell surplus stock of equipment like engines, he added. Saab was already on the brink of bankruptcy when GM sold it in early 2010 to Dutch company Swedish Automobile (SWAN) — at the time called Spyker — for US$400 million (308 million euros). The past two years have been lined with desperate efforts and numerous failed deals to keep it afloat.