The Swedish government has long been on my $h1tlist when it comes to Saab dealings. They like to position themselves as friends of the Swedish automotive industry with measures such as the automotive aid they offered back around 2008/9, which no-one took up because the repayment requirements were absolutely ridiculous.
The truth, however, when it comes to Saab, is that they couldn’t wait to see the back of it. They dragged their feet on the Koenigsegg deal, leading the consortium to pull out of the deal. They ignored findings from their own Debt Office about Saab’s proposed property deal.
Today, Swedish Radio have a story from a report into Saab’s bankruptcy where Guy Lofalk tried to do a backdoor deal to sell Saab for just $1 million to Volvo’s parent company, Geely. And the kicker is that the Swedish government, guarantors for Saab’s financial commitments to the EIB at the time, were apparently happy to go along with it.
FYI, it’s estimated that NEVS eventually paid around $274million for Saab, so Geely would have been getting quite the discount.
According to the report, Geely Chairman Li Shufu actually met with Swedish Finance Minister, Hans Lindblad to discuss the transaction, but Saab weren’t invited. The Ministry doesn’t deny a meeting took place but have declined to divulge the subject. In case you forgot, this was the future of a major Swedish-based, publicly traded industrial business they were discussing, without anyone from the business itself actually, you know, being there.
You might also remember that the Chinese government had a major role to play in any transaction involving a Chinese buyer. Hawtai previously had their hopes to buy into Saab dashed when the Chinese government made it very clear that Youngman was their preferred buyer. They had been given the right to act first and such a right is not just handed around. The fact that neither Lofalk or the Swedish Finance Ministry knew this just shows how off base they really were.
May the fleas of a thousand camels infest all their armpits.