Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The marriage between SAAB and Hawtai

Hawtai B21
The announced deal Hawtai Motor, a private car producer in Shandong province, and the European SAAB seems to be a much needed lifeline for the embattled SAAB. The Dutch-Swedish car manufacturer obtained euro 150 million, pending regulatory approval.

The name Hawtai did not ring immediately a bell, but I remembered the name from a rather strange deal last month as they invested 3.5 billion renminbi (365 million euro) in the Bank of Beijing, the second largest city bank - certainly not one of the bigger players in the banking industry.

Hawtai seems to be sitting on quite a lot of cash. In the past they obtained some patents from Hyundai and produced a high-end SUV. It does not look like a huge money maker; the automotive market in China looks a bit overstressed today, despite the high growth figures, since almost all car manufacturers seem to be betting on the China market.

A safe bet is that the owners of Hawtai have been making money in real estate. I could not really figure out the ownership structure of the Hawtai venture. But I guess that SAAB and its owner Spyker could not care less where the money is coming from. It is most certainly going to be an interesting venture to follow, and I would not predict a huge success right away.

Update: Report on the press conference by China Car Times. The Chinese investments seems much lower than initially reported, only 60 million euro.Other media still stick to the initial 150 million euro investment.
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