Saab has secured fresh investment from China that will free up its cash flow and allow it to restart its troubled production line in Trolhattan.
The Swedish brand’s owner, Spyker, has announced the deal with Hawtai, a Chinese manufacturer best known for producing SUVs. Hawtai is investing 150 million euros (£134m) in Spyker - and taking up to 29.9 per cent equity stake in the firm. It will also give the company a further 30 million euros (£26.7m) as a convertible loan.
Beijing-based Hawtai sold just over 80,000 Hyundai-based SUVs last year - but it has capacity to produce 350,000 vehicles, 300,000 clean diesel engines and 450,000 automatic transmissions. It has plans to raise all of these capacities to a million units per year by 2015.
The deal is expected to fast-track Saab’s entry to the Chinese market - a key move as it tries to restore its sales volumes to a profitable level. Spyker CEO Victor Muller said, “We expect that Saab’s unique brand values, based on its aviation heritage, Scandinavian origins and innovation-driven character will do very well in the Chinese market.”
Hawtai is said to have been attracted to Saab because of the potential for technology sharing and, crucially, the firm’s European sales network.
Saab’s Trolhattan facility - which has been closed for almost a month because of unpaid bills with suppliers - is now expected to restart production within the next week. Spyker secured an additional 60 million euros (£53m) of funding yesterday, from a Lithuanian-owned investment fund and Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov.