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Billion kronor deal leads to non-existent address

Updated måndag 21 december 2015 kl 20.07
Published måndag 21 december 2015 kl 17.23
"It's a shell company, there are many false ones"
(2:20 min)
At the address there's no sign of Panda, Photo: Hanna Sahlberg/Sveriges Radio.
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At the address there's no sign of Panda, Photo: Hanna Sahlberg/Sveriges Radio.
A scene from better days at Nevs factory in Trollhättan. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT.
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A scene from better days at Nevs factory in Trollhättan. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT.
Nevs CEO Mattias Bergman, Photo: Victor Jensen/Sveriges Radio.
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Nevs CEO Mattias Bergman, Photo: Victor Jensen/Sveriges Radio.

The Chinese address given for the company that recently placed an SEK 100 billion order for Swedish electric cars, isn't there, Swedish Radio News reports.

More and more questions are arising about the sudden order National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), formerly Saab Automobile, received last week from China. Swedish Radio News has discovered that the address given for the company supposedly making the order, Panda New Energy, does not exist.

Beijing correspondent Hanna Sahlberg went looking for the address listed for the company in the local municipal enterprise list. She found something else.

“It’s a shell company, there are many false ones,” says one of the two women in the small reception room at the address given.

The rest of the building is housing for male factory workers.

The supposed room number, 118, the women say, doesn’t exist. The building only has rooms up to 115.

The order announced last week is worth SEK 100 billion, with some of the production at Saab’s former headquarters in Trollhättan. Swedish Radio News reports that a company called Panda New Energy at an address in the Yanqing economic development zone was first registered as recently as September 14th this year. It was approved on December 16th, the day before the order for 150,000 electric vehicles from Nevs was announced.

The guard outside Panda’s supposed address says it’s used by fraudsters.

“Papers for legal suits are sent here,” he says, but there’s no one here.”

Despite the report that there’s nothing at the company’s address, Nevs CEO Mattias Bergman tells Swedish Radio News that Panda is credible.

“Our owners, with the backing of the Chinese state and local city officials, have carried out a dialog with them for a long time,” he tells Swedish Radio News. “Our determination is that they have the financial strength to pay for the cars they have ordered.”

And, Bergman says, Panda’s owner is a well-known business executive with companies on the stock exchange for a lengthy period.

China analyst Frédéric Cho tells Swedish Radio News that even if the address is suspicious, Panda could be legitimate, and may have the Chinese government behind it.

“My guess,” he says, “is that it’s gone so quickly because a directive has come directly from a high level in China to open up this sector for companies.”

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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