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Saab: Vlad Rides to the Rescue

Sat, 16 Apr 2011

Vladimir Antonov rides in with €30 million for Saab's coffers

It was always an odd move by GM, or the Swedish Government, or whoever it was that decided the deal  for Spyker to buy Saab could only go through if Spyker’s money man – Vladimir Antonov – stepped down.

It’s understandable if you have genuine concerns about the credentials of a party to the deal, but taking Vlad out of the equation was an accident waiting to happen. Without Vlad there was no financial safety net for Saab.

If their concerns were that great they should just have refused the Spyker offer for Saab; after all, the minnow that was Spyker taking on a mass manufacturer of cars – with no experience and their money man thrown out with the bins – was madness.

But having done the deal to sell Saab to Spyker it has taken just a year for Spyker to run out of money. So they need Vlad. Everyone needs Vlad. The Swedish Governmet needs Vlad. The EIB needs Vlad and GM – who still hold $300 million of stock in Saab – needs Vlad. So everyone has been looking for a way to back pedal.

The first move in the plan to let Antonov back was the acceptance by GM that Vlad wasn’t actually a bad boy after all. That unlocked the door that would allow Vlad to throw money at Saab in the way he’s thrown money at Spyker in the past. But there were still obstacles.

Next step was permission from the Swedish Government for Vlad to become a shareholder in Saab and for Saab to sell some of the assets that help secure the EIB loan. That’s because the Swedish Debt Office helped underwrite the EIB loan that allowed Spyker to buy Saab.

And now the pieces are in place and the SDO has given permission for Saab to  sell assets to…Vladimir Antonov. That will bring in €30 million quickly and get production moving again. Next stage is for the Swedish Government to allow Vlad in as a shareholder. Which will happen very soon. As Vlad said on his Twitter last night:

Ok guys! One step closer to success! We will sort it out. One way or another! This company MUST survive!:)

It would have been so much easier to leave Vlad in place to start with.

By Cars UK