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Mahindra & Mahindra said to be keen on acquiring Saab Automobile

By Motortrend India Staff   |   02 January,2012

Mahindra & Mahindra, India’s largest utility vehicles maker, is reportedly interested in buying at least a part of bankrupt Swedish carmaker Saab Automobile. M&M may be in the process of setting up meetings with two court-appointed administrators who are overseeing Saab’s bankruptcy to possibly buy a part of the carmaker or the whole company, reports said.

In the past couple of years, M&M has got into a series of acquisitions, including acquisition of SUV maker Ssangyong for $368 million and majority stake buy in electric car marker Reva. It also bought back its stake from Renault for Logan joint venture.

The integration process with Ssangyong and Reva is already underway and a portfolio of products is lined up from both brands. M&M has also successfully managed to turn around Logan sales. However, experts said there is no compelling value proposition for the Indian company to buy Saab as a brand.

"M&M as a company has been wise in many of its acquisition. There is no compelling value proposition for M&M to look at buying Saab. M&M may look at it, if there is some piece of technology or assets which would expand its global presence. But on the face of it, the reasoning is fairly week," VG Ramakrishanan, VP, Frost & Sullivan, said.

Saab Auto filed for bankruptcy after running out of cash. The company had to halt production in March, as it was unable to pay its suppliers. Poor cash-flow and diminishing scale led to a $263 million loss in the first half of 2011.

General Motors sold the Sweden-based company in February 2010 to Dutch sports-car maker Spyker Cars NV, which later changed its name to Swedish Automobile NV.

Saab Chief Executive Officer Victor Muller had earlier reportedly said he had received "two or three" expressions of interest from potential buyers and that he’ll refer them to the bankruptcy administrator that the court appoints.

Over the last couple of months the company has been reportedly in talks with potential Chinese financial backers, including Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile following a failed attempt earlier in the year to sell a stake to the Jinhua-based carmaker and auto dealer Pang Da Automobile Trade Co.

Other suitors whose talks have collapsed this year include Russian banker Vladimir Antonov, a former Spyker investor seeking to return after GM’s terms of Saab Auto’s sale forced him out, and Hawtai Motor Group, another Chinese company.

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