Bosses of the Chinese companies that are buying Saab have been in Sweden and talking about its future.
Under the agreed sale to China’s Pang Da and Youngman Saab will get just over 600 million euros to fund its operations through to the end of 2013.
They plan a total investment of 2.2 billion euros over the next five to six years, but do plan cost cuts including laying off 500 workers, 15 percent of Saab’s employees.
Victor Muller, the Dutch businessman who bought Saab from General Motors before stalling with cash flow problems, denied Swedish media reports that he would make big bucks from the deal.
Muller said he was: “Relieved that the company is safe. Saddened that this is happening in a way that I didn’t anticipate.” Asked if he’d lost money on the deal Muller said: “Lots of it. If the transaction happens, lots of it!”
Saab’s new saviours dismissed the idea production would be moved to China as “really stupid”. Youngman CEO Pang Qingnian said: “Saab can’t survive without its Swedish roots. China’s like a branch on the tree, but the roots remain in Sweden.”
Saab’s workers and suppliers are taking a wait and see approach as previous deals have fallen through and this one still has to be approved by the European Investment Bank, the Swedish national debt office and China’s National Development and Reform Commission as well as General Motors, which remains a major supplier to Saab.
Even Saab’s executive director of new business development, Martin Larsson, called the deal a “work in progress”.