By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion magazine
We really thought the SAAB story was over. Earlier this year we reported that “a Swedish-registered company founded by a Hong Kong firm and a Japanese investment fund” would buy the bankrupt company (actually only the production facilities and physical plants) and the become “National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB” or NEVS for short. The name tells you what they planned to make.
There was almost as much not included in the sale as was: the buyer would not get the SAAB name, the parts operation or any of GM’s proprietary technology that the late company used. Those exclusions have spawned a number of lawsuits in both the U.S and Sweden, but still, the consortium of buyers with ties to both China and a Japanese finance company, indicated they would move ahead with their plans.
The forward motion however was a bit slower than planned and some in Sweden are now suggesting that the buyers may not be playing in good faith. The purchase price has never been disclosed, but observers figure it was “low hundreds of millions”— a fire-sale price for a once successful company. It is known that NEVS put down a deposit of around $24 million while they went to raise financing for the rest. When queried, NEVS would always reply that they were “developing financing from many sources.”
Now, the court appointed administrators overseeing liquidation of the company have had enough. They recently told the buyers to close the deal and produce the rest of the money by the end of August or consider the deal undone.
The principal of the investment group, Jiang Dalong, claims that the money is available through venture capital companies in Hong Kong and Japan. Conspiracy theorists are saying it was all a front for a takeover by the Chinese auto industry who lost interest when they couldn’t get the technology they wanted.
Meanwhile, the administrators may be faced with the equivalent of repossessing an empty house; the value has dropped again and there are no other buyers in line.
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