Report – Mahindra ready to acquire majority stake in SAAB?


Nithyanandh K,

As a toddler, those wheeled machinery fascinated me even before I knew what they’re called as! So here I’m, petrolhead by birth, Mechanical engineer by qualification and automotive reporter by profession!

Deal would be finalized by February 2015.

Regular followers of the auto industry would know that this is not the first time that the names Mahindra and SAAB feature in the same sentence. Back in 2012, when the beleaguered Swedish auto brand was on sale, Mahindra was reportedly one of the final bidders.

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M&M was already linked to SAAB in 2012.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) AB, a Chinese-Japanese Investment group, finally managed to walk away with a deal. However, as things stand now, NEVS is facing severe cash crunch as its major investor failed to come up with the sum initially promised.

As a result, the new SAAB owner has filed a request to the District Court of Vanersborg, Sweden, for extension of its reorganization process for three more months. In a statement issued by NEVS, the company has announced that it’s looking for a new investor in two Asian automakers. The names of the concerned automakers however, are not revealed due to non-disclosure agreements between the parties.

NEVS further went on to reveal that one of the OEM players in question is interested in buying a controlling stake and negotiating with SAAB AB’s independent aerospace division regarding the usage of the brand name (NEVS lost the rights to SAAB trademark when it filed for reorganization). The second Asian OEM player is interested in a joint venture.

According to Automotive News Europe, the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet reported that Mahindra is one of the two Asian OEMs in contention. Going by the Indian conglomerate’s acquisition history, if Mahindra is bidding for NEVS, it’s safe to assume that it would go for a majority stake. The daily also speculated that the second OEM is China’s Dongfeng Motor, who also own a part of Peugeot-Citroen.

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If Mahindra acquires SAAB AB, it will gain access to the European automaker’s technologies.

NEVS has sought the court to protect it from creditors for three more months i.e. until February before which the new investor will be on board, the company claims.

For Mahindra, buying SAAB would give it access to the Swedish automaker’s R&D resources and technologies. Not to mention a brand which is widely recognized in the old continent where neither Mahindra nor Ssangyong are well recognized. The company already has Ssangyong, and Peugeot Scooters under its wings.

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[Source: Automotive News]

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