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SAAB

Profits down at Saab

Swedish aviation and defence group Saab said on Tuesday first-quarter pre-tax profit fell sharply on increased marketing, administration, research and defence costs arising partly from acquisitions.

Pre-tax profit fell to 380 million kronor ($56 million) from 533 million a year earlier.

“Saab began 2007 solidly. Order bookings and sales increased compared with the same period last year,” group chief Åke Svensson told reporters.

The equivalent figure last year included 185 million kronor in extraordinary income, mostly from capital gains, versus 40 million in this quarter results, it said.

Market expectations were for a pre-tax profit of 404 million kronor, according to SME Direkt.

However sales rose to 4.917 billion kronor from 4.311 billion kronor. Orders booked rose to 5.391 billion kronor from 4.149 billion last year.

Saab said that of total order bookings, 72 percent was attributable to markets outside of Sweden. The order backlog now stands at 51.4 billion kronor.

Commenting on the allegations that bribery was used to help sell its Gripen fighter, Saab said the company had never permitted bribery and that it was fully cooperating with the public prosecutor’s investigation.

Saab reiterated that for 2007, it expects growth in line with 2006, with an operating margin – including structural costs – slightly higher than in 2006.

CARS

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court

Swedish car maker Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson and the firm's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have appeared in court in Vänersborg in west Sweden, accused of falsifying financial documents shortly before the company went bankrupt in 2011.

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court
Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. Photo: Karin Olander/TT
The pair are accused of falsifying the paperwork at the height of the Swedish company's financial difficulties at the start of the decade.
 
A third person – who has not been named in the Swedish media – is accused of assisting them by issuing false invoices adding up to a total of 30 million kronor ($3.55m).
 
According to court documents, the charges relate to the firm's business in Ukraine and the paperwork in question was signed just before former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson resigned.
 
Both Jonsson and Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have admitted signing the papers but denied knowledge of the Ukranian firm implicated in the case.
 
All three suspects deny all the charges against them.
 

Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers. Photo:  Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
 
Saab filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2011, after teetering on the edge of collapse for nearly two years.
 
Chief prosecutor Olof Sahlgren told the court in Vänersborg on Wednesday that the alleged crimes took place in March 2011, when Saab was briefly owned by the Dutch company Spyker Cars.
  
It was eventually bought by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), a Chinese-owned company after hundreds of staff lost their jobs.
 
The car maker, which is based in west Sweden, has struggled to resolve serious financial difficulties by attracting new investors since the takeover.
 
In October 2014 it announced it had axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce.
 
Since 2000, Saab automobile has had no connection with the defence and aeronautics firm with the same name. It only produces one model today, the electric 9-3 Aero Sedan, mainly targeting the Chinese market.