Yesterday was exciting. Published in the morning Sveriges Radio the plans for another NEVS factory in Shanghai. A message that sounds strange against the background that another factory in Tianjin is still not finished, and that dismantling is being carried out in the old Saab factory. Three plants, two continents, no production.
But there was the press conference scheduled for 13.00 with Minister of State Löfven. And that, surprisingly, brought good news. The NEVS AB was able to GSR Ventures commit a new wholesale investor. 500 million US dollars are to be invested, and GSR plans a battery assembly factory in Trollhättan.
The event is positive and could fundamentally change the situation for the former Saab factory. Firstly, the agreement, whose binding nature is not entirely clear, relates to the NEVS AB. So on the Swedish part of NEVS and not on the Chinese joint ventures. Secondly, a battery assembly in Trollhättan could sustainably strengthen the location.
GSR Ventures typically invests in startups at a very early stage. DiDi Chuxing is one of the most well known investments, last year the Chinese bought the battery production from Nissan, Since then, they have strived to build a global presence. A battery production in Turkey, as part of the national auto project, is one of them. And now also NEVS and Trollhättan.
Investments of 500 million US dollars are to be made in the form of convertible bonds, which can be exchanged for shares in NEVS AB. Unclear yesterday was the schedule, and in what amount could flow immediately funds. In addition, the question remains as to whether the Chinese authorities have already approved the transfer of funds. If the transactions occur, they could have direct consequences on the ownership structure of NEVS AB. GSR Capital could become the largest and largest shareholder of the company when exchanging the bonds, should the former owners not seek a capital increase on their part.
NEVS back in business?
Yesterday, good weather prevailed in bright sunshine in Trollhättan. Mayor Paul Åkerlund said he was "back in business". You could agree with him, it would not be a startup called NEVS.
In recent years, NEVS has filed for bankruptcy at the expense of Swedish taxpayers and suppliers. And besides, it did not reach just about any goal that was announced. Mistrust, based solely on this experience, is appropriate.
The entry of GSR Capital banishes at least the current risk of a second bankruptcy. Whether he is also the turn for Trollhattan and also for NEVS? It would be possible for GSR to provide the financial boost and, with an exchange of management, the seriousness that did not exist before.
The construction of the new car factory in Shanghai is scheduled to start in May, Tianjin is scheduled to start production in summer. The Nissan AESC battery factory could be built from 2019 in Trollhättan, they could deliver batteries for 400.000 to 500.000 vehicles a year.
500 million US dollars are a lot of money. But only a small, initial startup financing, if you want to build a brand. For comparison, Li Shufu has invested more than 10 billion US dollars in the revival of Volvo. A Saab rebirth, of which some have been dreaming since yesterday, is not within reach. But it could well be that yesterday opened a new perspective. I do not dare to make a prognosis. The next few months will show what happens.