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Saab lands €150 million from China's Hawtai

Saab restarts production after cash injection
Vladimir Antonov gets OK as Saab investor

THE HAGUE (AFP) - Saab and its owner Dutch carmaker Spyker have raised 150 million euros through a strategic partnership deal in China, Spyker said on Tuesday amid a financial crisis for the Swedish-Dutch firm.

The partnership with the Hawtai Motor Group followed an announcement on Monday that Saab had secured short-term cash of 30 million euros ($44.6 million dollars) to restart production within a week.

"Spyker and Saab signed an agreement with Hawtai Motor Group Limited. This agreement conditionally secures medium-term funding," Spyker said in a press release.

"It includes financing in the form of subscription agreements to the amount of 150 million euros as well as a strategic alliance for China including joint ventures in manufacturing, technology and distribution," it said.

Hawtai will invest 120 million euro for a maximum equity stake of 29.9 percent in Spyker on a fully diluted basis.

"The remaining 30 million euro will be in the form of a convertible loan agreement with a six-month maturity, an interest rate of seven percent per annum and a conversion price of 4.88 euros per share," the company added.

Saab was rescued at the last minute in January 2010 by Spyker, which bought it for 400 million dollars from GM and vowed to preserve the carmaker.

But sales did not reach expectations, losses ballooned, and the company announced on April 6 this year it was stopping production "until further notice" because unpaid suppliers had halted deliveries.

The Hawtai deal was subject to approval and conditions including the consent of Chinese government agencies, the European Investment Bank and the Swedish National Debt office, Spyker said.

"The partnership with Hawtai allows Saab on the one hand to continue executing its business plan since we secured mid-term funding subject to meeting certain conditions," said Victor Muller, Spyker's CEO and chairman of Saab Automobile.

"On the other, it allows Saab Automobile to enter the Chinese car market and establish a technology partnership with a strong Chinese manufacturer," he added.

Said Richard Zhang, Hawtai's vice president: "The partnership with the iconic Saab brand will give us access to innovative technologies and an international network which would have taken us decades to build."

"On the other hand, we have a very strong Chinese manufacturing and distribution infrastructure which we will make available to our new partner Saab automobile," Zhang said.

Founded in 2000, Hawtai was a privately-owned automotive company with headquarters in Beijing, Spyker said in its press release.

It had the capacity to produce 350,000 vehicles, 300,000 engines and 450,000 automatic transmissions per year, it said.

Last Updated (Saturday, 07 May 2011 20:00)


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