Saab remains under court protection; China's Youngman still backs the bailout
Saab Automobile AB remains legal protection from creditors, the court-appointed lawyer overseeing a reconstruction process for the struggling carmaker said after General Motors put in doubt a Chinese bid for Saab.
On Monday, GM said it would stop supplying components and technology to Saab if two Chinese companies acquired Saab. GM's move called into question the survival of Saab, which has been under court protection from creditors since September.
"We will now try to get clarity about what the decision from GM means and if there is any way ahead," court-appointed administrator Guy Lofalk told Reuters on Tuesday.
It would be Lofalk's decision to apply to the court to end the bankruptcy protection process. He said that could happen, but declined to say under what circumstances.
The reconstruction involves Lofalk plotting a future for the company in talks with its creditors, mainly suppliers who are owed about 150 million euros. He has to make sure the company has a viable future and the Chinese bid was key to that.
He said talks were taking place between Swedish Automobile, which bought Saab from GM, and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile.
"You have to take each day as it comes, no process is served by having too many alternative results ... we are carrying out a reconstruction and a bump comes along on the road, that happens all the time," Lofalk said. "I hope that I will know more before the end of the week."
Victor Muller, chief executive of Saab's embattled owner, said on Monday that GM's rejection meant negotiators would have to go back to the drawing board with the Chinese.
Youngman said it still wanted to invest in Saab after GM warned it would stop supplying components and technology if Pang Da and Youngman succeeded with their acquisition bid.
Youngman director Rachel Pang said on Wednesday the company will do "everything they can" to support Saab's survival. She told Swedish news agency TT that Youngman still wants to buy Saab.
"Of course we do. If you are afraid you cannot succeed in business. There are always difficulties. One has to find solutions, not just give up," she was quoted by TT as saying.
Pang declined to answer if Youngman would consider becoming a minority owner of Saab.
Saab has been under court protection from creditors since September.
The proposed rescue deal for Saab had to be approved by GM because the automaker has preference shares in Saab and has supplied the Swedish auto brand with crucial components.
GM, which operates in China in a partnership with state-run SAIC Motor Corp., said this week it had concluded that continuing to supply vehicles and technology to Saab's new owners would run counter to the interest of its own shareholders.
The proposed rescue deal for Saab had to be approved by GM since the U.S. group still has preference shares in Saab and has supplied the Swedish auto brand with crucial components.
A deal for the Chinese companies to rescue Saab had won the informal endorsement of Chinese regulators. The Swedish government, a Saab creditor, had yet to approve the deal.
Muller told Reuters he expected to speak to the Chinese companies to consider the remaining possibilities for Saab after GM's announcement.