INDIA: Mahindra & Mahindra readying Saab bid - paper
Mahindra & Mahindra, one of four companies interested in Saab Automobiles, has signed a confidentiality agreement with the bankrupt company and is in the process of finalising its bid, an Indian media report said. China's BAIC, possibly in conjunction with Panasonic reportedly may also submit a bid.
Sources 'close to the deal' told The Times of India M&M would likely complete its bid in the next 15 days while Kotak Mahindra, previously M&M's banker for several big deals, would probably be involved in a Saab deal as well.
Pawan Goenka, M&M's autos and farm equipment sector chief, refused to comment to the paper.
Sources said the M&M team has been working at Saab's Trollhattan factory in Sweden to work out details. They added that top M&M auto and M&A team executives would meet later this week to finalise the structure of the bid.
The biggest hurdle in the revival of Saab under new ownership is proprietary technology in the vehicles which former owner General Motors has refused to transfer under licence to potential new owners.
Sources told the Times GM had made clear it would not give intellectual property rights (IPR) for the [GM Mexico-built] 9-4X and [Sab-made] 9-5 models to any buyer, leading to the failure of an earlier bid by Chinese automaker Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile.
Since then, Youngman has tabled a revised offer of SKR3bn (US$446m) for Saab, according to new reports.
Youngman's revised offer too has not been received with enthusiasm by the Saab receivers, the Indian paper noted.
Sources told the Times M&M is perceived by the receivers as "one of the strongest bidders" thanks to its ability to turn around ailing South Korean company Ssangyong which it bought in 2010 and was this week reported to be considering turning India into a manufacturing base for the automaker.
The Times also noted, as reported by other media in the last 24 hours, that Beijing Automotive Investment (BAIC) has announced an interest in Saab. Some reports said the company is considering a partial bid for Saab, in conjunction with auto battery maker Panasonic, with the aim eventually of making electric vehicles.