Blog: Simon WarburtonHawtai deal collapse sparks new Saab doubts

Simon Warburton | 12 May 2011

Are the vultures starting to circle Saab?

Today's (12 May) news of the collapse of its proposed deal with Chinese automaker Hawtai is a body blow to the Swedish automaker, which is simultaneously juggling a hugely complex series of financial balls.

I asked Hawtai director of strategic planning Xinyi Huo yesterday what might happen should the EUR150m (US$216m) fall through and whether it was eyeing other western partners, but was batted back.

"We have signed a strategy partner agreement," was his response. "We should focus on this strategic agreement and work it out first."

Well, that strategic agreement looks to be in tatters despite Saab parent Spyker's optimistic assertion this morning that the Swedish manufacturer could still work with Hawtai "or another Chinese party" on "manufacturing, technology and distribution in China."

It appears the workforce is being paid, despite many hundreds remaining at home, but is this money coming from the mysterious Gemini Investment Fund? Why has the EIB - seemingly at the heart of the whole deal remained so extraordinarily silent? And can a new partner be rapidly found to plug the widening financial hole?

Saab has far more questions than answers today.


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