BELGIUM: CLEPA questions speed of "haemorrhaging" Saab's doomed Hawtai deal
Europe's Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) said on Thursday (12 May, 2011) Saab's haste in trying to tie the financial knot with Chinese automaker Hawtai almost inevitably led to the deal's demise.
Saab's failure to secure EUR150m (US$213m) in new funding prompted parent company Spyker's CEO Victor Muller to travel to China yet again to try and find a new partner.
"You don't make deals of this size that quickly, nothing in China happens without government approval," CLEPA CEO Lars Holmqvist told just-auto from Brussels. "It is no surprise to me.
"The government has approved a deal where Geely bought Volvo - some people might believe China...is a free, capitalistic market, but I don't believe it. You have to think [centrally]."
The CLEPA boss stressed Saab still owed suppliers a "tremendous amount of money" and had endured cash shortages for a significant amount of time.
"They won't get any parts until they pay the suppliers," Holmqvist added. "If somebody has a billion euros or so, and believes they can save Saab, then good luck but that is the money you would need."
Saab earlier confirmed Muller's presence in China today as the Spyker chief attempts to shore up a new deal following its decision with Hawtai to suspend the financial agreement but Holmqvist questioned the speed at which the process was happening.
"I don't think you do business deals by rushing around, trying to sell a company that is bleeding, haemorrhaging," he said.
"The Geely/Volvo deal took more than a year - it takes a long time, it is complicated and [involves] huge amounts of money."
It remained unclear precisely how Saab was funding its 3,800 employees' wages while the factory remained at a standstill and there was still no news from the European Investment Bank (EIB) on Saab's request to draw down EUR29m.
"We would love to hear from the EIB with some positive news," a Saab spokeswoman in Sweden told just-auto this afternoon.