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SAAB

Saab sees profits slip

Sweden's Saab AB said its nine-month pretax profit fell 1.9 percent from a year earlier to 1.269 billion kronor ($194 million) despite rising sales, due to increased spending on research and development and lower net financial income.

Market expectations were for a pretax profit of 1.307 billion kronor, as recorded

by SME Direkt.

Sales increased 14.2 percent to 15.663 billion kronor, mostly on the back of acquisitions, with organic sales growth at 2 percent.

“For 2007 we expect growth in line with 2006 and an operating margin including structural costs slightly higher than last year, assuming no negative effect from the recently announced Swedish defence budget cuts,” Saab said.

Operating margin fell 8.7 percent from 9.6 percent a year earlier.

Order bookings fell 39.0 percent to 12.285 billion kronor, with 72 percent of orders

coming from customers outside of Sweden, and 66 percent attributable to defence-related operations.

The order backlog at the end of the period amounted to 46.719 billion kronor, versus 51.398 billion. International orders accounted for 81 percent of the backlog, down from 79 percent.

Saab said that Sweden’s defence budget proposal calls for further cutbacks and a continued focus on the military’s international missions.

This will provide the company with new opportunities and, to a larger extent, will mean it will have to finance technological development and increase international marketing efforts.

“To create the necessary resources and sustain our 10 percent operating margin target, we have launched an internal efficiency program. The aim is to improve the gross margin by generating annual savings of approximately 1 billion kronor by the end of 2010,” Saab said.

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.