NEVS, an electric-vehicle startup most widely recognized for its attempt to restart production of Saab cars early last decade, is looking for a buyer.
NEVS is owned by Evergrande Group, the Chinese conglomerate whose main property development arm has debts of over $300 billion and could be just days out from defaulting on some of that pile.
In an interview with Bloomberg published earlier in October, Stefan Tilk, CEO of NEVS, said he’s preparing in case things don’t work out with Evergrande and as a result is looking for a new owner for NEVS.
“I’m acting as if things won’t be working out with Evergrande,” he said. “Therefore we have entered discussions with new intended owners or project financiers.”
Tilk also said NEVS has enough funds to last a while, though the company has been forced to make some cutbacks. In August, it let go roughly half of its 650 staff, most of them from the former Saab plant in Trollhattan, Sweden. In addition to the plant, NEVS’s assets include engineering and test centers.
Potential buyers are rumored to include venture capital funds based in the U.S. and Europe. It was also reported in August that Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi, which this year launched its own automotive arm, was in talks with Evergrande Group about buying some of its automotive assets.
It was reported only in September that Evergrande Group, despite its financial woes, is committed to its automotive arm which, in addition to owning NEVS, owns a 20% stake in Koenigsegg and is attempting to launch the new Chinese EV brand Hengchi.
Although NEVS previously announced plans to launch its own electric vehicles, the company is currently focused on developing mobility services, including a self-driving taxi service.