Saab, Spyker file $3bn claim against GM
THE HAGUE - Agence France-Presse
Photo taken on May 20, 2010 shows Spyker CEO, Victor Muller outside the company's headquarters in Zeewolde. AFP photoDutch carmaker Spyker said Monday that it has filed a three-billion-dollar (2.4-billion-euro) claim in a US court against General Motors, whose actions it said led directly to Swedish Saab's bankruptcy last year.
"The lawsuit seeks redress for the unlawful actions GM took to avoid competition with Saab Automobile in the Chinese market," Saab's owner Spyker said in a statement issued in Zeewolde in the Netherlands.
The Swedish carmaker filed for bankruptcy in December after attempts to raise funds in China were thwarted by GM, which had previously owned Saab and refused a transfer of patents needed for the Chinese deal to go through.
"GM's actions had the direct and intended objective of driving Saab Automobile into bankruptcy, a result of GM's tortiously interfering with a transaction... to restructure and remain a solvent growing concern," Spyker said in the statement.
Spyker said it would pay for Saab's legal costs in the case filed at the Eastern District of Michigan Court, in return for a "very substantial share of Saab Automobile's award when the proceedings are successful." Chinese carmaker Youngman had long been interested in buying Saab and tried to snap it up before it declared bankruptcy -- but its efforts were stymied by Saab's former owner GM, which balked at transferring the necessary technology licences.
"GM took all the steps to prevent us to make a deal with Youngman," Spyker's chief executive Victor Muller said during a telephonic conference, adding "it was evident that General Motors has deliberately pushed Saab over the cliff." Muller added the three billion dollars claimed in compensation represented the value Saab would have had, had the deal with Youngman go through.
He said that if the lawsuit was successful, "90 percent of its proceeds would go to Spyker." The Dutch company estimated legal costs at "between one to two million euros." "Any money that goes into Saab will be considered Saab's assets and might be distributed to the company's creditors," Muller added.
Youngman reportedly placed a preliminary bid in late January or early February of about two billion kronor (220 million euros, $280 million).
Bankruptcy administrators said in April that Saab had assets to cover just over a third of its debt of 13 billion kronor.
Saab received a new lease on life last month when Asian investors aiming to make electric cars for the Chinese market bought the Swedish company out of bankruptcy.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), a new company created by two firms in Hong Kong and Japan just a few months ago and registered in Sweden with the express purpose of buying Saab, said it would buy the automaker for an undisclosed sum.
GM sold Saab in early 2010 to Spyker for $400 million.